Tri-Hards helping both physical and mental wellbeing in Exmouth

PUBLISHED: 08:00 08 February 2019 | UPDATED: 09:12 08 February 2019

Members of both the ladies and gents' Tri-Hards groups. Picture: Neal Stammers

Members of both the ladies and gents' Tri-Hards groups. Picture: Neal Stammers

Archant

An Exmouth sport and fitness community is providing those suffering anxiety and depression with an alternative to GP waiting rooms and acute hospitals.

Tri-Hards, launched as a social media group 18 months ago to give women a place to organise social exercising events, has since developed into a 2,500-strong online community.

The success of the ladies’ group has spawned the Tri-Hards Gents. Now as many as 30 people are joining across the two groups every day.

Giving a presentation to Exmouth Town Council, Neal Stammers, who launched Tri-Hards Gents, said the group has now been approached by GPs as a non-medical referral alternative for patients.

He said: “We have had an unbelievable number of reports and testimonials from people who have lost weight. It’s had a massive impact on the people of Exmouth.

“We have also found a lot of people who have anxiety issues and depression because they have become stuck at home so this is a massive opportunity for people to get out in the community.”

County councillor Richard Scott said: “I think sometimes we look at ‘what can our GP do, what can our acute hospitals do?’

“I don’t want to be in an acute hospital, I don’t want to visit a GP.

“We all know that our mental health links in to our physical health and vice-versa so what you guys (Tri-Hards) are doing is absolutely brilliant.”

Neal’s wife Shelly set up the Tri-Hards Ladies group in 2017 after looking for other women to exercise with.

That developed into a 1,700-strong community with members even taking part in regional triathlons.

On the back of the success of the ladies’ group, Neal got together with Daz Notman, Oliver Bainbridge and Andrew Lamont to create Tri-Hards Gents. A third group has also been set up in Topsham.

According to Neal, members are creating up to 50 exercise events every week across the two groups.

He said: “It grew and developed into something we never imagined it would.

“It’s got to somewhere we didn’t expect it to get.

“Our aim is to improve the health and wellbeing of people – it’s about inclusivity.”

The group has since received sponsorship from town businesses – with some offering discounts to Tri-Hards members – and eight ‘Tri-Hards’ have been put through a ‘run leader’ course.

To become a member, search for Tri-Hards on Facebook.

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