What is the FMG Project?
The Foundation’s first major continuous programme and FLAGSHIP PROJECT was conceived in 2020. From the outset in 2015, we decided that we needed a major project that was associated with the Foundation that would allow us to support, develop and empower individuals through connection, involvement and continuous focus. In order to do this the flagship project would need a property, a base from which to operate out of.
We took time to identify the right location because it needed to be a fit and we needed to build funds to afford it. We settled on a venue known as The Basement in Brighton, which has now become the home of the FMG Project. The space has been transformed into a gym and community hub, where we run our own programmes and rent the space out to other groups, charities and businesses. We know the power of sport and fitness and how it can change lives, so our aim is to provide opportunities for local young people to learn, grow and achieve through fitness-based coaching programmes in our state-of-the-art gym facility.
The majority of young people who access these programmes are vulnerable and experience numerous barriers to participation in sport and exercise, such as poor mental health, coming from a low-income family, having a criminal record or not engaging with academia. The hope is that we can make a meaningful difference in the community through transforming the lives of these local young people by providing a safe and fun space for them to make friends and learn, developing their communication and leadership skills, building their resilience and motivation and connecting them with other local sports clubs, so that they can continue to grow and develop once they have completed our programmes.
The gym is not a commercial public gym that can be used by anyone. We wanted to keep the space safe for the vulnerable groups and young people who use it, and so it can only be used at certain times by other groups or individuals. These other individuals include personal trainers or local sports clubs, who rent the space and create revenue that is used to keep the venue open and fund the programmes that we run. This way, we can ensure that our programmes are completely free for the young people that take part. Other groups that use the space also include the Brighton Phoenix Athletics Club for their junior athletes, the Schools’ Wellbeing Service who run yoga sessions for teenage girls experiencing anxiety or depression and local charities such as the Russell Martin Foundation, who have asked us to run free fitness sessions for their children on the verge of school exclusion or suspension. This gives other local groups and charities use of a high-quality venue for free, or at a reasonable rate, whilst also enabling them to support the work that we do.