Charity gym gets go ahead for new Leith premises

Projekt 42 can be found at Newkirkgate Shopping Centre. Picture: Greg Macvean
Projekt 42 can be found at Newkirkgate Shopping Centre. Picture: Greg Macvean
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A NOT-for-profit gym, which offers support to people with mental health issues, has secured planning permission for a new health and wellbeing centre in Leith.

Projekt 42, founded by Sara Hawkins, will offer a space for locals to work on their fitness while also improving their mental wellbeing.

Currently in a temporary building in the New Kirkgate, the new premises on Halmyre Street will run fitness classes, nutrition and food planning workshops, counselling, mindfulness sessions and a fitness academy, which will provide affordable qualifications to young adults in the Capital.

Projekt 42 founder Sara Hawkins said: “We’re delighted to have received permissions from Edinburgh council for the new centre on Halmyre Street, and can’t wait to get our teeth into the next stage of the process.

“We know from our temporary site how high the demand is for our facilities, so it’s 
exciting to be able to get started working on bigger and better plans for our new space.”

The gym was established by Sara following her own battle with mental health.

In 2012, she was diagnosed with PTSD, her condition spiralled and she became unable to work or participate in everyday activities.

After months of being withdrawn, she was gifted a gym membership, and following several failed attempts to even get through the door, she started attending regularly and saw a change in her life.

The not-for-profit gym also aims to make exercise more accessible and affordable for everyone. Classes start from £2.50 or £22.50 for a membership, with all the profits going back into the charity.

The community gym has been supported by property developers Buccleuch Property and since joining forces with the charity earlier this year, has already brought together a task force of local property professionals to help make the project a reality free of charge.

“It’s thanks to the guidance and support from Buccleuch Property and the professional team, who have so kindly come together to help us turn our vision into a reality, that we’ve got this far,” Sara added. “So I’d like to extend my heartfelt thanks to the whole team.”

Providing pro bono services are Comprehensive Design Architects, civil engineer firm Quattro Consult, building services engineers Rybka, cost consultants Axiom and Robin Mackenzie Acoustics and construction is expected to start in spring.

Managing director of Buccleuch Property David Peck said: “This truly is a project which will positively impact the local community, and we’re all looking forward to seeing it come to life.

“As we move forward with the build we will be seeking key materials including everything from portakabins to fixtures and fittings, and would encourage any local building and construction businesses who could help support this project to please get in touch.”