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Gym owner finds unique way to keep people exercising - and help others

PUBLISHED: 06:15 12 November 2020 | UPDATED: 09:50 12 November 2020

Peter Dive, owner of Full Fitness Gym in Watton, has launched a support group for people suffering with their mental health during the coronavirus lockdown. Picture: Peter Dive

Peter Dive, owner of Full Fitness Gym in Watton, has launched a support group for people suffering with their mental health during the coronavirus lockdown. Picture: Peter Dive

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A gym owner has launched a support group for those struggling with their mental health during lockdown.

A wellbeing and support group is being launched at Full Fitness Gym, in Watton, during the second national lockdown. Picture: Peter DiveA wellbeing and support group is being launched at Full Fitness Gym, in Watton, during the second national lockdown. Picture: Peter Dive

Peter Dive was forced to shut Full Fitness Gym, in Watton, as restrictions aimed at preventing the spread of coronavirus were introduced last week.

But legislation does not prohibit wellbeing groups from meeting if organisers provide mutual aid, therapy and support to their members.

Those who can attend include victims of crime, people recovering from addiction, new parents, vulnerable young people and those struggling with issues related to sexuality or identity.

Anyone with a long-term illness or terminal condition, and those who have suffered bereavement, are also eligible.

A wellbeing and support group is being launched at Full Fitness Gym, in Watton, during the second national lockdown. Picture: Peter DiveA wellbeing and support group is being launched at Full Fitness Gym, in Watton, during the second national lockdown. Picture: Peter Dive

While the gym as a business is closed, Breckland Council has advised Mr Dive - a qualified counsellor - that exercise equipment can be used as a form of therapy during his 90-minute sessions.

“At the gym we can all sit and discuss our issues but, if people aren’t comfortable with that, we will allow the exercise equipment to be used - helping your mental and physical health,” said Mr Dive.

“For a lot of people their escapism is going to a fitness centre. Now you can come in, talk to me and exercise at the same time.

“I don’t want anyone to be sat at home, suffering by themselves.”

Explaining the rules, a Breckland Council spokesman said: “The operator of Full Fitness Gym has been in contact with us to explain they will be closing the gym business and opening as a support group.

“They will be offering exercise as therapy and counselling to vulnerable people, which is allowed under new lockdown regulations passed by the UK Government.

“The council is on hand to support any businesses in the district to understand the new central government lockdown legislation and the support available to them.

“However, we also have a duty to take enforcement action alongside our partners if any business is found to be flouting the regulations.”

Peter Dive’s health and wellbeing sessions, priced at £8, can be booked online.

Mr Dive is exploring the possibility of obtaining a grant so that sessions can be offered free of charge.


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