Men and women in Sheffield are fighting fit thanks to boxercise, kickercise and Zumba classes aimed at boosting their physical and mental health.
The free exercise classes are run by Manor and Castle Development Trust, a not-for-profit organisation aimed at breathing new life into city suburbs including Manor, Manor Park and Wybourn.
They are intended to help improve the health and well being of local residents and are proving so popular that around 100 people attend the sessions each week.
Fitness instructor Kellyanne Sharman, aged 38, is held up by many of the participants as being responsible for helping them turn their lives around.
She said the sessions are more than exercise classes, with some isolated men and women who attend rarely leaving their homes for anything else.
Others are parents or carers who struggle to find any time for themselves.
‘Many of the people who come to my classes initially suffer with anxiety or mental health issues or are socially isolated’
Kellyanne, from Woodhouse, who specialises in addressing depression, low mood and anxiety through exercise, also organises fitness walks and cooking sessions to teach people how to cook healthy meals on a budget.
The Manor and Castle Development Trust also runs a six-week Steps to Excellence programme, which helps people regain their confidence, self esteem and positivity.
Kellyanne said she enjoys seeing the transformation in the people who attend her classes.
“Many of the people who come to my classes initially suffer with anxiety or mental health issues or are socially isolated,” she said.
“They are often referred by GPs and we welcome anybody of any age.
“Our aim is to get socially isolated people out of their homes and meeting new people through exercise. With everything combined together the result is happier, more positive people and to see that change in them is wonderful.”
Three of her boxercise class clients, who have attended classes for three years, recently obtained teaching certificates after an online assessment and eight-hour practical exam.
“It was a great achievement and very emotional for me as I have just watched them grow,” said Kellyanne.
“They all suffer with their mental health and the classes really help them release their endorphins and feel fantastic.
“One of the guys we put through now works for the trust as a mental health support worker.”
Gaynor Mitchell, aged 36, from Woodthorpe, is one of those who credits Kellyanne with making a difference to her life.
“During the last year I have been attending Zumba classes I can honestly say Manor and Castle Development Trust has made a real difference to my lifestyle,” she said.
“Not only has it improved my confidence and self esteem it has also improved my family life.
“I doubted myself and my abilities. However, coming to Zumba I’ve met people of all ages who make me feel part of the community.
“Kellyanne made me feel so very welcome form the very start – she gives you motivation along with dedication.
“She always has a smile which you take home with you. Everyone needs a Kellyanne in their life.”
Lucy Cox, 36, from Woodthorpe, said: “I feel it’s a great way to be involved and meet new people while helping yourself physically.
“These people take time and effort to organise classes and events. It’s only a shame more people don’t take up such free opportunities when they are available.”
Susan Hague, 54, from Owlthorpe, is two stone lighter since attending Kellyanne’s classes.
“I feel so good about myself – I feel healthier and so much better in my mind. I actually feel better than I did 20 years ago,” she said.
Cheryl Hopewell, 45, from Lower Manor, added: “I have been attending Kellyanne’s classes for four years now and still look forward to them.
“They are such friendly classes – it doesn’t matter what size you are, everyone is made to feel welcome.
“If you want the classes for fitness or just for fun it’s up to you. You get out what you put in.
“I do it for the fitness side of it and I get a top work-out and feel fantastic after I’ve done it.
“I love Kellyanne’s classes and wouldn’t know what to do without them.”
To find out more visit Manor and Castle