About Us

Who we are

We are a Community-led service driven by the needs of the service users, identified and evaluated by the service users. We have voluntary stakeholders who are service users supporting the operational side of the service. They carry no liability but support all functions of the Gentle Gym. The stakeholders are instrumental in promoting the Gentle Gym, setting standards and interviewing all members of staff. They lead open days and attend regularly monthly meetings to review our services

What we do

We focus on the on integrated prevention of physical, social and mental health problems associated with ageing and living with long-term health conditions. At Renaissance we recognise that people with long term health conditions and the older population have multiple co-existing health needs, hence our integrated approach to Healthy Lifestyles. We achieve this by:

What we have achieved to date

Renaissance Wellbeing Centre/Gentle Gym provides services which have been recognised by funding organisations and have therefore over the years received the following grants –

Kent Country Council and Kent Sports in 2017 granted the Gentle Gym in partnership in ethnic minority independent council (EMIC) Canterbury to increase physical activity in ethnic minorities

Strategic Grant from Canterbury City Council in 2019 to run Falls prevention program code named “A Matter of Balance”

Wellbeing Fund from Kent County Council to run a 3 months program “Connect for Wellness” to combat loneliness resulting from COVID in vulnerable people

Tackling Health Inequalities funding from Kent Sport, Kent County Council and Sports England in January 2022 to improve physical wellbeing and reduce risk of mobility loss in people with long-term or mobility limiting conditions

Parkinson’s Group: The Gentle Gym has a service level agreement with the Canterbury branch of Parkinson’s UK to run group gym sessions for people living with Parkinson’s disease and their carers. This has been running on Friday afternoons since 2013

Community Projects: Gentle Gym members have participated in sponsored activities to raise funds for Sports Relief in 2015. They have also participated in a 5 mile Race for Life fundraiser in 2016 and raised money for East Kent Hospitals NHS Trust Breast Cancer Fund 2019. We are incredibly proud of our members’ efforts which goes to show the community spirit of this community-led gym. We look forward to contributing to these and other good causes in the future.

More About Us

Delivering Wellness since 2012: Making Health your greatest Wealth

Renaissance Fitness & Wellbeing Centre’s commitment to lifelong fitness and well-being began in September 2012. It was the brainchild of Chiedza Helen Madzokere, a now retired Consultant Allied Health Professional in the NHS. Her vision was to address the challenges faced by people with hip/knee problems or other mobility limiting conditions in trying to maintain their health through active lifestyles.

Her knowledge of the increased risk of falls and tendency to lose independence in people over 60 drove her to explore available facilities; to enable these people to reduce the burden of losing mobility or regain already lost mobility. It is well known that the normal ageing process and mobility limiting diseases can benefit from regular exercise. Unfortunately, there was a gap in the market to accommodate this group of the population.

The vision and passion to enable everyone (regardless of age or physical ability) to experience the health benefits of exercise was born when she discovered the state-of-the-art motor assisted exercise machines called Motortone, which can mobilise joints and offer tailored resistance to tone and strengthen muscles.

The ultimate goal was to incorporate functional exercises and falls prevention programs to reduce the heavy burden on NHS and Social services resulting from injury and loss of mobility. This vision was realised when a location became available in Dover Street and the Gentle Gym was born.

Partnership with Active Life from 2013 to 2017 – ended when Active Life was acquired by Fusion. The Gentle Gym is indebted to Active Life; especially Neil and Carol and Helen’s voluntary mentor, the late Jonathan Marsh

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