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Church News

Christian gym closes 'with a heavy heart' following government recommendations

by Heather Preston

A Christian community gym, serving the vulnerable in Northamptonshire has closed its doors following government orders in response to the coronavirus.

The UK government has enforced more severe restrictions on businesses, with all cafes, gyms and pubs ordered to close indefinitely. It's hoped the measures will help to slow the spread of the coronavirus - which has claimed 177 lives across the country.

Among the many Christian businesses affected is the Chapel Gym which is run by St John's Church in Corby. 

Its Rector, Paul Frost told Premier the project was started as an outreach program to connect with the local community and has become a place of hope for the vulnerable.

"We do a lot of work with people struggling with mental health, and also people coming in and out of prison and also people struggling with addiction," he said.

The Chapel Gym, which has over a thousand members, stayed open until the government's announcement on Friday. Frost explained that exercise provides people with a healthy routine and positive energy amid chaotic times.

He said despite this, he knew it was necessary to shut the doors on Friday evening but was concerned it could leave some people feeling isolated.

"It's going to be a struggle for people, now we've shut," he added.

In response to the new measures, the government has committed to pay 80 per cent of the wages of employees unable to work as a result.

Frost has welcomed the support saying: "We completely understand, and the support financially is going to be really helpful for us. But the loss is the impact on our members, especially some of whom the gym is really important for them. 

"So it's with a heavy heart [we close] but completely understanding that it was the right thing to do."

The gym plans to maintain contact with its members via phone and social media to ensure people's spiritual and mental health are still being cared of.

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