The South Yorkshire Violence Reduction Unit (VRU) has visited Unity Gym, based on Wellington Street in Sheffield.

Unity is a small community gym which aims to provide a safe space for local residents, with a particular emphasis on supporting younger generations. The Gym has previously received VRU funding to implement the Unity Sessions programme.

This initiative aims to provide mental health support, providing an opportunity for young people to talk though the anxiety, trauma and psychological effects of the isolation, stress and boredom experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic.

During the visit, the VRU chatted to gym owner Saeed about the Unity Sessions programme, and the Gym’s other community projects and work in the local area.

Graham Jones, Head of the South Yorkshire Violence Reduction Unit said: “The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on everyone, but particularly on children and young people, many of whom have faced long periods out of school, unable to learn in a classroom environment or regularly interact with their peers.

“As we move out of the pandemic, the mental health effects of that isolation are becoming increasingly clear, and a major challenge for the coming years will be ensuring that appropriate support is in place.

“This goes beyond statutory provision, and encompasses the voluntary and community sector, including initiatives such as the Unity Sessions programme which the VRU has funded over the last year.”