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North East Now – New fitness scheme jobs boost for Tillydrone

Laura Walker's social enterprise Blueberry Wellness will deliver fitness training in Tillydrone. Photo Wullie Marr / DCT Media
Laura Walker's social enterprise Blueberry Wellness will deliver fitness training in Tillydrone. Photo Wullie Marr / DCT Media

A new social enterprise is to launch within Aberdeen’s Tillydrone community – creating a jobs boost for local residents.

Blueberry Wellness, the brainchild of Laura Walker, will train up to 10 people to become personal trainers and then deliver classes to fellow residents.

It is hoped the first cohort should launch by March and Ms Walker already hopes to roll out the scheme to other areas of the city.

The 58-year-old first came up with the idea in March last year during a conversation with a friend.

Laura Walker. Photo Wullie Marr / DCT Media

Less than a year later she is set to get the enterprise underway after receiving her first ever funding grant – £4,920 from the Start It and Build It awards part of the Scottish Government’s Social Entrepreneurs Fund, delivered by Firstport.

Ms Walker, who has more than 25 years experience in the fitness industry, has teamed up with the Tillydrone Community Flat, to establish the first successful trainees.

The flat, based in Alexander Terrace, provides services including a foodbank, creche and adult learning services.

Help ease pressure on NHS

She said: “Blueberry Wellness will provide fitness training and employment to local people to help improve the health of the community in areas where it is needed most in addition to taking some pressure off our hard pressed NHS.

“These newly qualified personal trainers will be ready to deliver the first fitness offering to the community of Tillydrone in Autumn of 2022.

“The intention is to improve health management of long term of conditions such as long covid, coronary heart disease, diabetes and arthritis.

“This will allow people to remain independent and take some pressure off our NHS.

“The business aims, long term, is to establish a centre of excellence to deliver fitness for health to whoever wants to buy into this excellence in knowledge and skill.

“The initial reaction from the community is positive. I’m sure it will take hard work but I’m looking forward to building success for the future.”

Growth of social enterprises

Firstport, supports individuals who are focused on piloting and expanding new business ideas that tackle social and environmental issues.

Firstport chief executive Josiah Lockhart said: “With the pandemic still having an impact on our day to day lives, it is encouraging to see the continual growth and development of social enterprises across the sector.

“This latest round of funding highlights the importance of social entrepreneurs in building stronger communities across Scotland.”

The North East Now campaign has made it easy for people to support local firms in a wide range of industries during the pandemic.

The initiative is driven by Aberdeen and Grampian Chamber of Commerce and backed by creative agency Hampton and Aberdeen Journals.

For further information on Blueberry Wellness, visit facebook.com/laurawalker

To find out more about North-East Now, visit www.northeastnow.scot

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