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When James first took over at Riverside Gym, he envisioned a holistic approach, incorporating values such as resilience, purpose, and connection: the idea of a range of physical capabilities better enabling people to meet life’s challenges.


Tying in with the ethos of those at Riverside who are dedicated to change for the better, and moved by the plight of the Afghan refugees, James has been inspired by the work of two charities whose goals are also to effect change for the better.  



An emergency fundraising effort, aimed at helping Afghan friends evacuated to the UK, set up by Murray Cowan (former British Army and UN worker).  


Murray is raising funds to help his former Afghan colleagues settle in the UK.  In Murray’s own words, people who “are deeply committed, well-educated and utterly professional and decent … the sort of great people you would like to have as friends, work colleagues or neighbours.”

An American NGO originally operating a two-year mountaineering programme focused on developing leadership and life skills for young Afghan women, Ascend have now shifted their focus to emergency evacuation fundraising.

Riverside Gym’s Real Strength Programme empowers people to elevate themselves on their physical journey, and it is James’ hope that a combined effort by the members of Riverside could go some way to supporting those who now require real strength to overcome the many challenges of their uncertain futures.


“Real strength is not just a condition of one’s muscle, but a tenderness in one’s spirit” McCallister Dodds

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