A GROUP of men have put their heads together to not only improve their own lives, but the lives of other community members.
Every Tuesday evening a group of 11 Ballarat men show up to an unassuming gym tucked away in a quiet laneway in Ballarat central.
Like so many other fitness groups, it is there that the men motivate each other to work up a sweat to improve their own fitness, but it is the unique factor of giving back to the community that really helps to improve their health and well-being.
Each week, the members of The Good Life Club, which offers a holistic approach to all aspects of health - physical, mental and social - make a donation which is then donated as a lump sum to a local charity every five weeks.
Each group member is given the opportunity to choose a charity.
The charity chosen for the group's first donation was decided by Dan Madigan and Paul Tresize, who decided the ReCranked Centre- a Ballarat YMCA initiative - would receive the $210 donation to support their work.
ReCranked is run by a group of dedicated volunteers who restore old, broken or unused bikes to provide a means of transportation to people in need. About 300 bikes a year are repaired in the ReCranked workshop each year.
Coordinator Wallace Martin said he was delighted with the surprise donation.
"This is great recognition and support for ReCranked," he said. "We know the tireless volunteers who have restored some very tired bikes into reliable transport for hundreds of people will be chuffed."
The Good Life Club was established five weeks ago as a way to continue the benefits reaped from the Western Bulldogs' Sons of the West Men's Health program, which teaches men about health and well-being through activities centering on healthy eating, exercise and mental health.
Organiser Joseph Natoli participated in the program and said it was fantastic but only ran for 10 weeks.
"I thought it would be great to develop a continuing program that helps people get fit and healthier and keeps up the social contacts that we valued in the group," he said.
An element of the program was an encouragement to take part in community activities.
"Supporting local groups also gives the club a sense of pride and ongoing purpose. It opens our eyes to the many organisations that support the Ballarat community and are well worth promoting."
The group is looking for support from organisations to continue running while it is also open to new members joining.
If interested, contact Joseph Natoli on 0411 568 523.
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