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Michael Jelly-Mead, 27, will be joining 15,000 other competitors taking part in next year’s Big Half in March.

The Vitality Big Half is an inclusive mass participation event which aims to cater for runners of all abilities, including those with disabilities.  This half marathon starts at Tower Bridge and finishes in Greenwich, passing through the boroughs of Southwark, Tower Hamlets, Lewisham and Greenwich.

Michael is already in training for the challenge, steadily increasing his training schedule so that he is in peak condition for the event.  He is entering into the event as one of the 12 day chair entrants.

Michael’s journey hasn’t been without its challenges.  Back in 2008, aged just 17, he was struck down with an unknown virus that left him paralysed from the chest down and with a severe visual impairment.  Michael had to adjust to life in a wheelchair and in order to build up his upper body strength and general fitness joined YMCA Thames Gateway’s gym.  He became a familiar face in the gym and recognising his true grit and determination, staff recommended Michael for gym instructor training through InstructAbility, a bespoke programme designed to engage disabled people in the fitness industry.

Since then Michael has overcome his physical limitations and has gone from strength to strength.  Discovering a passion for fitness, Michael has since qualified as a personal trainer and level 3 fitness instructor.  He is also involved in and leads on para-sports activities; sports for young people with disabilities and leads activities such as wheelchair basketball.  The Big Half is a first for Michael, whose long term ambition is to take part in the London Marathon.

Michael wants to give something back to his local YMCA and is using the challenge to fundraise for YMCA Thames Gateway.  He said “I love to challenge myself, so why not take up a challenge to raise funds for an organisation that gave me my first opportunity in life since becoming wheelchair bound, and support the work they do.”

Michael is one of YMCA’s true advocates and has gone above and beyond to support YMCATG in the past.  In 2015 he slept out on a freezing cold February night and raised over £1k for the charity.  He also took part in Parallel London, an inclusive 10k push around the Olympic Park in 2016.

Please show your support by sponsoring Michael.  To donate and find out more visit:  https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/MichaelJellyMead



Binge on Netflix while you train! Our new gym equipment comes with full connectivity, meaning you can be in while you’re out getting fit.

New equipment includes upright bikes, recumbent bikes, treadmills and cross trainers (including powermill and seated cross trainers).

Our new equipment will be digitally integrated enabling you to watch your Netflix favourites as well as run and cycle all over the world. Eventually this will connect with your fitness monitoring device or app, allowing you to monitor your fitness levels in a smarter way whether you’re taking part in a class or in the gym.  We plan to have all of the digital elements fully available to you by the end of January. So come on in and catch up on all those box sets while you train!


Public Consultation Event – Thursday 27 September

Your YMCA invites you to a public consultation event to seek your views on our proposals for a new residential development on our main site off Rush Green Road.

Members of the project team and YMCA staff will be on hand to guide you through the exhibition material, answer any questions and seek your comments on the proposal.

Responses received from this public consultation event will inform the preparation of our proposals for the site before the submission of a planning application.

The event will be held in the Essex Room at our Romford branch. Please feel free to drop in anytime between 4.30pm and 7.30pm on Thursday 27 September.

The proposal is to develop an affordable housing scheme on our site which will provide move-on accommodation from the hostel.


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