A fitness group in Salford is changing the lives of its members with its community led approach to tackling obesity.
Personal trainers Sarah and Anthony are the founders of U-First Fitness Society, a society that encourages local Salford residents to get involved with exercise classes.
The classes are held at Buile Hill Park basketball courts and take place on Monday and Thursday evenings, as well as Saturday mornings.
Each class is filled with creative exercises and teamwork, aiming to bring people together to motivate and support each other to achieve their goals.
When starting their company, Sarah and Anthony recognised that body image can have a big impact on people’s mental health.
Statistics from the NHS have shown one in four adults experience some form of mental illness.
Sarah said, “We’ve noticed that we have a massive mental health crisis in the UK, we have a huge obesity crisis, people just generally don’t know how to look after themselves.
“The problem is there is not much accessible and quality nutritional advice that is out there that’s affordable for your average Joe’s”
Government statistics show that 28.6% of adults in England are obese, with a further 35.6% overweight.
U-First Fitness Society have almost 50 members, with around 15-20 attending each session.
Faye Chilekwa takes part in the exercise classes and having lost weight, has found herself feeling more comfortable within her own body.
Faye said, “I’ve lost just over one stone and a half, so I’m feeling good at the moment.”
Along with exercising, the group allows people to make friendships and socialise with one another.
Faye said, “I feel like this group gives me a real sense of community, I’ve made so many good friends here.
“I was really apprehensive at first about coming and I think that was just because obviously I’ve got a lot more weight to lose and I’m not as fit as some of the other people.
“But they’re always behind me cheering me on.”
Photo taken by Zak Rafael
By Zak Rafael and Phoebe Walters