Girton village website

Active Girton: The Barn Health and Leisure

Interior view of The Barn Health and Leisure

When is a barn not a barn? The answer is when it is in Girton, and is called The Barn Health and Leisure -- where it is a modern purpose-built air-conditioned fully-equipped health and fitness centre. The name comes from the footprint of the old barn at Camboro Farm on the Oakington Road, where the new centre was opened in 2000. For most people a barn conjures up a warm, sympathetic environment, and that is something that is certainly still present, among the profusion of exercise machines and fitness equipment.

Fitness centres evoke images from films of muscular fanatics obsessively pumping iron - but nothing could be further from the atmosphere at The Barn. An airy hall, tastefully lit, with restful music and a calm ambience greets you. Yes, there is an array of machines, but also pale wood, light flooding in, and chairs and tables for a talk and a cuppa. The members are all sorts: young persons, keen athletes, dedicated leisure keep-fitters, gentle exercisers, older people, and there is no pressure or forced exertion.

The Barn provides a positive approach to getting and staying active and fit. New members have an individual assessment of needs and goals, and are monitored regularly to encourage them to achieve their objectives - whether it is to lose weight, to build up or rebuild fitness, or just to keep in shape. Technical advice on issues such as body fat composition and blood pressure is available. As well as the full range of individual fitness machines, classes are organised in the spacious studio throughout the whole week in a range of activities including Sculpt & Strength, Boxercise, Thighs, Tums & Bums, Bodymax and Junior Gym - to mention only a few of the sixteen available. And after your exercise, there are always the sauna and steam rooms, to ease away any strains and stretches.

On five mornings during the week new mums are able to take classes, while their babies and toddlers are in the supervised play area, and they can have a chat afterwards. Older villagers are catered for with a range of classes and activities, including a "Fit and Fifty" special group. Teenagers are remembered with a group at weekends and one weekday afternoon. People at The Barn are community-minded too, having last summer organised an event which raised £3000 for the Autistic Society, a charity with which they support actively.

The Manager since The Barn opened is Sean Sallis, a former Girton United footballer, and veteran of the Cambridge sports scene, as well as an instructor for some classes, particularly cycling. Owner Mike Allan, another long-time Cambridge racquets enthusiast is often on the premises if not on a machine, and continues to eagerly develop activities, as he has done for the past twelve years. Most of the qualified and experienced instructors have been at The Barn for many years, particularly Caroline who teaches Pilates, Denise who teaches Yoga, and Eva who teaches Studio Cycling.

So if your New Year's resolution includes improving your health and fitness, The Barn may be your answer. Potential members are invited to come along, discover its non-intimidating atmosphere and friendly approach, talk over their needs and goals with the welcoming staff and sample the facilities. A range of flexible membership options is available, and it is even possible to have a free trial to help you decide. And it's on your doorstep with free parking and no traffic jams!

Manager Sean Sallis sums up The Barn as follows "A welcoming, friendly environment where everyone can work at their own pace to improve their fitness level."

John Berridge

Address: The Barn Health and Leisure, Oakington Road, Girton, Cambridge CB3 0QH

Telephone: 01223 519548