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Rotherhithe charity runs free online fitness classes for ‘marginalised women’

A Rotherhithe charity is running free online fitness classes for women who come from social or cultural backgrounds that mean they may be less likely to get exercise.

Restorative Justice For All (RJ4ALL), based on Plough Way, wants to get a minimum of 200 women and girls above the age of sixteen to sign up for weekly pilates and Zumba classes over the next year.

RJ4ALL says its classes are for women who have “social, economic, and/or cultural barriers” to attending a fitness class or going to a gym. The charity is calling the new project ‘Women’s Hearts: Active & United’.

The charity said that Muslim women were especially likely to be missing out on exercise. Research by creative agency Mud Orange found that before the Covid-19 pandemic 86 per cent of Muslim women would prefer to use women-only gyms and this often meant they exercised less.

Dr Theo Gavrielides, who runs the charity, said: “We are delighted to be offering free sports and empowerment classes to women especially during these difficult times.

“The Women’s Hearts: Active & United project is well embedded in our culture and hope that it will attract enough supporters to see it running for many years.”

Funding for the project comes from This Girl Can, a Sport England-backed fund to promote active lifestyles among women and girls.

Classes will be run by Olga Ribaka, a fitness instructor who has been teaching fitness and dance for nearly twenty years.

Ms Ribaka added: “Waking up in the morning, getting to the gym and prioritising your fitness isn’t easy—we all know it! But staying on track and working toward your health goals is essential.
“For those days when you need some extra motivation, join our free online classes no matter where you are”.

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