A NEW gym has opened for the service users of a Bournemouth-based charity.

Hope Housing, Training and Support Ltd have raised funds and received donated equipment for the benefit of the 47 vulnerable residents who are helped by the charity, to improve their health and self-esteem.

The mayor of Bournemouth, Cllr Phil Stanley-Watts, was at Hope’s headquarters yesterday to cut the ribbon and told how impressed he was that it had all been made possible, with support from others.

He said: “I think that it is fantastic that John Lewis have supported this and that we have something like this in the area.”

He added: “If you have a gym here, you can get them into the fitness groove, and it’s a fantastic way to get people involved.

“The more people that you can get into exercise, the better, as it can reduces addiction, and crime rates in the local area.”

Julie Berti, charity manager, said: “We were thinking what we could do with this room, as we wanted something for the fitness side, which would also bring people together, which all of the 47 residents could use.

She added: “We are trying to do things to get people out and about, so we have had people helping to re-do the garden and we have been able to do cooking courses as well.

“We’ve had half of the equipment for a year, but we needed to raise the rest of the money to complete the multi-gym and get the room painted and decorated,” she said.

“Our mission was to have it finished for winter and we’ve done it.”

Hope offers supported housing for single homeless individuals aged between 16-65, who may have previously been affected addiction, unemployment or a family breakdown, to provide them with the skills to enable them to live independently.