A HEALTH coach who offered free online fitness classes for residents during lockdown has been nominated for a Proud of Barnsley award.

Jonathan Rowland, 37, of Bethel Gardens, started his business – Mapplewell Health and Wellbeing – back in 2019 before the coronavirus pandemic struck and gyms and leisure facilities were forced to close.

Once lockdown started Jonathan started to provide free fitness classes, alongside Andy Hall from Wakefield Health and Wellbeing, to keep people moving and motivated throughout the tough period.

He said: “Everything was going really well and I was offering fitness classes on a Saturday because I was working full-time in prison service.

“I started to put on classes throughout the week during lockdown to keep people fit, and I was also trying to raise money for charity – I’ve built up a good following and it all went from there.”

Jonathan’s new venture, community health and wellbeing, started last month and he hopes the idea takes off around the world.

“Starting in Barnsley, we’re hoping to get affiliates in ever community in the world to help improve fitness,” he added.

“The support has been good so far – it’s not about the money it’s about helping people with their health and wellbeing.”

Upon hearing of his nomination in the Community Hero category, he said: “I feel really proud to be nominated – I didn’t expect it but it’s a good surprise.

“It wasn’t just me involved with this – there’s Glenn Whitehead and Andy Hall too.”