Stepping Stones to Fitness

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During the COVID-19 pandemic, many aspects of people’s lives suffered greatly and access to physical activity provision was no exception. That was the case for a group of ladies from Stones Methodist Church, who used to attend a keep-fit session there before the Covid lockdown drastically affected their daily routine.

More recently, however, interest had been growing in setting up a new fitness class and in December 2022, Stones Methodist Church was supported to enable a tutor to provide 13 weeks of gentle exercise classes.

Stepping Stones

The new session began on Monday evenings at the beginning of May and it has been amazingly successful with 19 ladies in regular attendance. The class was publicised on notice boards across Ripponden and Rishworth, and it was also featured in the Go Local magazine’s section about activities provided at Stones Methodist Church.  

We are all a bit fitter and trimmer, and we have all made new friends. There are more ladies from the community attending other than regular Stones folks. People whom we may have seen in the village or the supermarket and ignored, we now chat with.

Fitness Class Attendee

The class has been so successful that the church started another in September – this is less vigorous, has no floor work, is chair and barre-based, and is suitable for those whose joints are not what they were. The age profile of this class is older than that held on a Monday and has 12 ladies attending.

The exercise classes have been a tremendous success … please note classes plural!

Church Member

Delivery is still ongoing!

A £4 charge has now been applied to both the Monday and Friday classes as the ladies wished to pay. This is at least £1 less than the cost of keep-fit sessions in other churches. The church is allocating half of the income to the Stones Development Fund and the other half as income alongside the grant. This has already allowed them to purchase a set of 15 keep fit mats which they use each week. The sessions are already well embedded in people’s diaries, and they have, for the Monday sessions, already exceeded the 13 weeks they requested support for in the micro commissioning grant application.

What’s Next?

The church hopes to get games evenings/afternoons, involving table tennis and other games, up and running soon, hopefully starting in early 2024. They have already secured a storage place for a table and are looking for a pre-loved table in excellent condition before committing to a new one.

It is their aim that these sessions are free and that refreshments are available. The focus will be on male participants.

The Walking Group in the area has met on an ad hoc basis this year but will get started again in 2024 with the better weather. The group have received requests for some shorter walks in addition to the established walks and will be able to get these up and running in the very near future.

Building Community

The church can already see some “cross-pollination” of activities which are hosted at Stones – ladies from Keep Fit often go to the monthly Saturday coffee mornings and monthly Friday ‘Get Togethers’. They would like to use this momentum to continue growing their community into 2024 and beyond.

The community is building and is stronger. Issues of both physical and mental health and isolation are all being addressed.

Thank you for your support.

Sue Rosborough

If you would like more information about the activities available at Stones Methodist Church, please contact Sue Rosborough via