It has been out with the old and in with the new at Saskatoon Health Region employee gyms this spring, as old equipment was replaced with new. But the equipment taken out of Region employee gyms, which are funded through membership fees, isn’t taken to the landfill. Instead, it’s donated to schools in rural communities in the Region in need of gently used equipment.  

A girl on an elliptical trainer

Rosthern High School’s gym is now furnished with used equipment from Saskatoon Health Region employee gyms.

Two such donations were made to schools in Rosthern and Asquith this spring. Rosthern High School received a stairclimber, an elliptical trainer, and a recumbent bike. Asquith received two treadmills and an elliptical trainer.

At Rosthern High School, head caretaker, Eric Willie built the school’s fitness centre several years ago on the mezzanine level of the school’s gym, using plexiglass he gathered from the community arena when it was undergoing renovation. The gym is open free of charge to students and the community.

“I’ve been slowly accumulating equipment since I built it about 10 years ago. It’s finally coming together now,” Willie said. This past winter, he heard the Region’s employee gyms were looking for places to donate used equipment.

“We were looking for stuff, and they wanted to donate, so it worked out,” Willie noted. “This is fantastic for us. We don’t have a budget, so without donated equipment, we wouldn’t be able to operate.”

“Our fitness centres are part of realizing the Region’s vision of having the healthiest staff, and by donating used equipment to school gyms, it shows how staff support the development of a healthy community,” said Mimi Lodoen, Healthy Workplace Educator for Saskatoon Health Region.  “The school gyms we donate to typically don’t have funds for equipment, so this way they can get the students more active and it can be used within their gym programs.”

The funding for Saskatoon Health Region fitness centre equipment all comes from membership fees. The fitness centres were started over 12 years ago, with initial funds from foundations. Since that time, all equipment purchases come directly out of fees paid by employee members each month. The Region provides space for the centres and cleaning services only.

Region employees and affiliates pay $2.90 per pay period ($75/year) and have access to centres at all three fitness centre locations in Saskatoon, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Employees simply contact the Healthy Workplace Educator when they want to join. They get a brief orientation to ensure they are comfortable with the equipment, and go through the cleaning process and locker storage, so that when they enter the gym, they are comfortable.

About 1,800 employees currently pay into the centres.