registered charity no. 1098562
GymNation • Friendship Cafe • St James City Farm
Youth centre - community centre - Gym - City farm - Archery - Girls activities - multi-faith meetings - swimming - mountain biking - rock-climbing - camping - Fundays - self-defence - volunteering - BBQs - Displays - Horse riding - local, national trips, help with forms, interpreting/advice and referall to other organisations....the list of activities we are involved in goes on and on!
From activities for young people to getting people from different faiths to meet regularly, we arrange a whole range of activities and services, using Friendship Cafe and GymNation as a base.
We are a registered charity since 2000. However, our origins go back to the late eighties when the Gym was a very small group of young people training in various venues ranging from garages to old church halls until we set up the our current base at City Works in Alfred St in 1998.
Back in the 1988 a group of lads put some money together so that they could buy some weights and train in a garage in Hethersett Road. This avoided going to the over priced mainstream gyms with their lycra clad customers. And so the Gym was formed.
As the number of participants grew, the garage got cramped and a new venue had to be found, especially as we were joined by like-minded guys who had been working out in a cellar in Falkner St. We moved from empty shops to empty houses. From Community halls to Schools. Our previous venues include Bismillah Butchers in Upton St, the site of the Masjid-e-Omar (Mosque) in Conduit St, changing rooms in Colwell Community Centre (Derby Rd), the Anglo-Asian Centre in Charles St (opposite GL1), and the old Widden School in Sinope St, now the Islamic Girls Secondary School. We moved around 1996 to the City Works building on Alfred Street and in 1998 to our current building.
With so many location changes, came name changes as well. 'Sunni Gym' was how the original gym was known as in the 80s, followed by 'Gymkhana', then 'GymnAsian' in and in 2000 to 'GymNation'. In 2013 we retained this name only for the gym, but the official name for the whole charity changed to 'The Friendship Cafe'.