Professional boxer Jack Catterall took a break from training to open our new outdoor gym at a mental health unit in Chorley.

The light welterweight boxer, and local Chorley lad, was invited to cut the ribbon at the official opening on Wednesday (22 June).

It’s a Chorley inpatient resource which can be accessed by service users at our Worden, Avenham and Duxbury Wards (all based at Chorley Hospital). The gym has been installed in a dedicated outdoor wellbeing courtyard.

Jack said:

“There’s a strong connection between mental and physical health. It’s so good to be here today and to see all the staff and service users enjoying the gym. Gyms should be a safe space where people can go, feel good about themselves and escape from the stresses of everyday life for a while. It’s something that’s worked for me. I believe facilities like this should be available at all hospitals everywhere in the country.”

The equipment, which includes cross-trainers, slalom skiers, rowers, exercise bikes and a punching dummy, has cost £16,500. It was part funded by a charitable summer ball held in September 2019 which was organised by our staff on the Chorley inpatient wards, with £10,000 also coming from NHS Charities Together (NHSCT) – the grant was in relation to fundraising carried out by individuals during the pandemic and donating to the NHS. A large part of the grant received was from the fundraising raised by the late Captain Tom Moore.

Service users got to try out the equipment, chat to Jack, see him in action sparring and enjoy a special lunch.

Russ Moretta, Chorley Inpatients Service Manager at Lancashire and South Cumbria NHS Foundation Trust, said:

“I want to thank everyone who has come today or played a part in getting this project off the ground. We’re all aware of the correlation between physical and mental health and it’s something we’ve been working on for a while now. Most of our Trust’s mental health units have gym facilities, but we were struggling to find the space. Using the outdoor courtyard is great because being outdoors also brings wellbeing benefits, especially in the summer months. I’m sure it’s going to be a great benefit to service users and staff alike.

Service users will be able to use the gym as much as they like and will be supervised by staff who have also been enjoying getting active in the new space.

It’s been great having Jack here today. The service users have loved being able to meet a celebrity and having selfies with him. The sun has been shining for the occasion and it’s been lovely to get everyone together and celebrate in this way, probably for the first time since the pandemic began.”