Blackwood Group Fitness (BGF) rose off the back of the closure of a well-loved, popular Blackwood gym in December 2019. The gym's closure was a shock to the community and a devastating loss for the group fitness participants of Blackwood. After the loss of the gym, Kirsty Nield - revered instructor and Group Fitness Manager with over 20 years of teaching experience - made it her mission to keep the community connected and keep group fitness alive in Blackwood. Not three days had passed since the gym's closure when Kirsty ran the first Blackwood Group Fitness class in a small dance studio nearby.
Heading into 2020, Blackwood Group Fitness began operating out of several community centres and halls after navigating the logistical difficulties of finding local, affordable spaces to operate in. Then in March, it all ground to a halt as COVID-19 struck South Australia and all fitness facilities were forced to closed. Over the course of the state's lockdown, Kirsty and a few other BGF instructors recorded and provided 45+ free, online, publicly-available workouts to keep the community active during the unprecedented times.
The challenges didn't end after gyms returned from lockdown. Ever-changing restrictions and distancing requirements meant a booking system and other contact-tracing changes had to be implemented instantly, and we thank our incredible, loyal participants for sticking with us and being flexible through those changes.
The search for a permanent space we could call our own continued throughout the year, with one eye held on the old gym building and fingers kept crossed there would be an opportunity to move back one day. Late in 2020, that opportunity presented itself. After extensive communication and cooperation with the head of Premium Fitness 24/7 Blackwood, the new occupant of the building, Kirsty was able to secure a lease for our old group fitness studio.
After the most tumultuous year, Blackwood Group Fitness has moved back home to 210 Main Road in March 2021, and we have brought lots of exciting changes with us. New instructors have joined us, and new classes have been added to our timetable. Our studio and downstairs waiting room have also had complete makeovers and have been fitted out with new furniture and new equipment.
We would not have survived the year without the incredible support of our participants, and we look forward to seeing new and familiar faces return as we head into the next big stage of our community fitness journey.