Close search    

TGO-Dubai-Ladies-Club-Energy-Outdoor-Gym

Skip Navigation LinksHomeAbout usOur history

The story of how TGO grew from a family idea around the kitchen table to providing family fitness to millions worldwide

It is also the story of how ethics and sustainability have been the key ingredients to TGO’s growth – by doing the right thing, we’ve found so many excellent partners to work with worldwide, who share our vision for a healthier, happier, greener world.

From installing for councils and schools nationwide, to having a TGO tree planted by the Prime Minister, to taking part in world events like the London Olympics, COP21 (Paris) and COP22 (Marrakech), where UNIDO’s Director General opened their legacy TGO Energy Gym – we are always grateful for challenges of all shapes and sizes.

January 2007
The Olympic spark around the kitchen table

The Great Outdoor Gym Company (TGO) is set up by Georgie Delaney, Matt Delaney and Georgie’s father, John Tarrant, with Kathy Tarrant as company secretary.

Whilst working at Sport England, Georgie and Matt Delaney spot the idea as part of their work on the London 2012 Olympic bid – their research into the 2008 Beijing Olympics uncovers widescale installation by the Chinese government of free-to-use outdoor fitness equipment in parks, as part of their Olympic legacy.

Over a lovely lunch in Cambridge, Georgie and Matt pour their enthusiasm into legal heavyweight and great Dad, John. He joins the TGO Board by the time dessert and coffee are on the table.

As the first company to supply and install outdoor gym equipment in the UK, TGO becomes the pioneer of safety standards for outdoor fitness equipment. From the outset, TGO insist on matching or exceeding the existing European standards for playgrounds. TGO goes on to be the industry’s driving force in shaping new safety standards, specifically for outdoor gyms.
It's a fruitful, fun and inspiring family collaboration for the first 12 and a half years of TGO's life, until the death of our founding father, John Tarrant, in 2019. We'll always love and miss our prodigious chairman and one-in-a-million Dad. We hope we do him proud in the 20s. Please read our tribute to John on our About Us page.

TGO-Directors-2007-2019

2007-2008
Shiny TGO gyms land in UK soil

The first TGO outdoor gyms are installed in England and Scotland with innovative partners including Strathclyde Police, Kirklees Council and London Borough of Havering. These early adopters come to TGO to tackle a wide range of health and social issues – including targeting physically inactive groups, providing family-friendly spaces, promoting community cohesion and even tackling gang violence.

By the end of 2008, there are 14 TGO gyms across the UK, attracting users of all ages and abilities. As the credit crunch hits, media interest spikes in TGO’s outdoor gyms. Amongst others, The Daily Mail reports on the increasing demand for free-to-use outdoor gyms in parks and open spaces for people who can’t afford gym memberships.

Read more

2008 - 2012
The ‘adiZone’ years

TGO strike a game-changing deal with London 2012 Olympic sponsor, adidas UK, who invest £1 million in the adiZone pilot project. In 2008, 4 adiZones are installed in the host Olympic London Boroughs of Greenwich, Tower Hamlets, Waltham Forest and Newham – at no charge to the local authorities.

adiZone

The adiZones are open access, multi-sports facilities, comprising an 18-station outdoor gym, a basketball area, football goal, tennis wall, climbing wall and an open area for aerobics, dance, gymnastics and martial arts. The first adiZone launch events are supported by adidas-sponsored stars including the New Zealand All Blacks, the GB wheelchair basketball team and Christine Ohuruogu, the 400m Olympic gold medallist.

In 2009, the adiZone programme attracts £3 million funding from the Department for Education’s co-location fund. 40 adiZones are match-funded through this scheme with local authorities, schools, colleges, PCTs, the police and community trusts.
Launch events are supported by fitness elites including the athletes Jessica Ennis, Daley Thompson and Phillips Idowu, tennis star Tim Henman and Olympic gymnast Louis Smith.

In 2010, independent research by global measurement company, Neilsen, finds that adiZones increase physical activity and improve community cohesion. In the largest UK study of outdoor gyms – 478 interviews of 5 minutes across 10 adiZones – Neilsen assess the impact. 61% visited their adiZone once a week or more. 62% said the adiZone helped them to become more active (including 84% of people from ethnic minorities and 73% of under 16s). 87% said the adiZone was having a positive effect on their community.
adiZone

In his role at LOCOG, Sebastian Coe cites the adiZone programme as an example of best practice in terms of public/ private partnership.

With the case proven for adiZones, by the time of the London 2012 Olympic Games there are 70 adiZones spread right across England and Wales – adidas’s Olympic legacy gift to the nation!
adiZones-TGO

Read more

2012
The seeds of TGO’s tree planting with the NHS Forest

David-Cameron-TGO-NHS-Forest-tree-plantingIn 2012, the TGO Board of Directors prioritise a green future, committing to planting one tree for every piece of TGO equipment installed. TGO partners with the Centre for Sustainable Healthcare to plant trees in the NHS Forest.

In the first seven years of the partnership between TGO and the NHS Forest – 2012 to 2019 – 3,285 trees are planted including several larger blocks of new woodland. During his tenure as British Prime Minister, David Cameron plants one of TGO’s trees, marking NHS Sustainability Day 2014.
In 2020, another 700 TGO trees are planted in hospitals across the UK, including the Royal Bethlem Hospital and St Thomas's Hospital where TGO has installed outdoor gyms.

Read more

2012 - Turning workouts into watts
TGO Energy Gyms

In 2012, TGO invents Green Energy gyms – a range of cardiovascular outdoor fitness equipment and energy storage devices, which capture and convert human kinetic energy into electricity.

TGO-gyms-Green-Heart-Hull

Working with Hull City Council, TGO designs and installs the Green Heart – an energy-generating outdoor gym that powers its own lighting after dark. CNN runs the story and the world lights up with enthusiasm for people-powered outdoor gyms.

More exciting TGO Green Energy projects follow including another world first with Sir George Monoux College in Walthamstow. TGO designs and installs an outdoor gym that harnesses students’ energy to charge their phones and send surplus energy into the building. It’s part of the college’s aim to become carbon neutral, as well as inspiring young people to stay active and well.

TGO-Gyms-Sir-George-Monoux-College

Launching the gym, Stella Creasy MP says: ‘It’s when I come and see projects like this – and I mean young people like you – that I know that we’re going to be okay. If we can come up with something as amazingly scientific as this – where you can charge your phones, not feel guilty about eating fried chicken for lunch and help the college save money to put into scholarships – we can overcome the world.”

2014 - From sugar to wellness
New green space in Mauritius for body, mind and soul

Recognising the high cost of inactivity and the links to illnesses like cancer, diabetes and heart disease, Mauritian leaders invite TGO to help create a healthy and inspiring outdoor space for local people.

TGO-Gym-Mauritius

In April 2014, Mauritius' Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister, Hon. Xavier-Luc Duval, launches the second phase of the Sodnac Wellness Park. Located on a former sugar cane plantation and army shooting range, the Sodnac wellness park is home to a giant free-to-use TGO gym. Aligning with TGO's love of nature and our tree-planting scheme, the park also features a newly planted forest with tropical trees indigenous to Mauritius.
TGO-Gyms-Sodnac-Wellness-Park-Mauritius

With so much of Mauritius aimed exclusively at tourists, the park reserves and enhances the great outdoors for Mauritian citizens. Creative Director and co-founder of TGO Georgie Delaney, says: "Creating a wellness park like this is an exciting concept for all countries and this park is symbolic here in putting local people first."
TGO-Gyms-Sodnac-Wellness-Park-Mauritius

2015 - 2016
The United Nations call

TGO-Gyms-COP22-United-Nations-Marrakech

After exhibiting our TGO Green Energy equipment at COP21 in Paris, TGO is honoured when the United Nations get in touch with a very exciting legacy project for the Global Climate Change conference in Marrakech (COP22). The United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) ask TGO to design and install a community engagement site for COP22. They recognise that TGO Energy gyms are an educational tool for energy literacy, as well as sustainable facilities for healthier and more resilient communities.

TGO-Gyms-COP22-Marrakech-United-Nations

Our TGO Green Energy Gym in Marrakech features four pieces of TGO Green Energy equipment that charge phones as users workout, as well as an EDU to store energy to light the site at night time. In the first 24 hours, gym users in Marrakech generate over 2 kilowatts. At the opening, UNIDO Director General, Li Yong, praises the gym’s inventiveness and sustainability. Morocco’s Minister of Environment, Ms Hakima El Haite, also endorses the space.
TGO-Gyms-United-Nations-COP22-Marrakech

Whilst at COP22, the TGO team is inspired by the conference speakers and workshops, gaining further clarity over TGO’s role in how cities can transition towards sustainability – specifically, how TGO can help increase physical activity and reduce the carbon footprint associated with treating preventable chronic diseases.

Read more

2016 - A year of inspiration
sustainable wellness

By 2016, the World Health Organisation statistics have become crystal clear to TGO – dedicated action is required to tackle physical inactivity across the globe. Illnesses like diabetes, heart disease and cancer are killing around 3.2 million people per year. 65% of the NHS’s carbon footprint is attributable to procurement (eg prescriptions rather than buildings). The health of people and the planet is at stake!

So, inspired by all the latest trends in fitness like Crossfit, Callisthenics and bootcamps, TGO refreshes its range to bring in new products including the TGO functional training Rig, offering a pathway for beginners through to advanced. TGO also innovate new packages like energy spinning, where you turn your spinning workout into electricity.

TGO-Gyms-Functional-Rig

Standout sustainable wellness highlights of 2016 include:

  • A wellness at work TGO Gym at the London HQ of The Chartered Institute of Physiotherapy
  • A female-friendly gym in Dubai Ladies club, opened by the Happiness Minister, harnessing the Emirate energy to power electronic play equipment and lighting at night
  • A community gym in Faversham, part-funded by the Tesco Bags of Help scheme, building on TGO's gym at the flagship Tesco store in Lincoln
  • The Wall Street Journal catch up with TGO, specifically around what we’re doing about healthy ageing.
  • A fitness garden with BBC’s DIY SOS TV programme for a disabled ex soldier (the show is broadcast in 2017).

DIY-SOS-TGO-Garden-Energy-Hand-Bike

2017 - First TGO Gym made with recycled aerosol cans
Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and Right Guard

TGO-Gyms-Right-Guard-Aerocycle-Queen-Elizabeth-Olympic-Park

Working with Right Guard and TerraCycle, TGO design and install an energy-generating outdoor gym for the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park (QEOP), using the aluminium from over 2,500 recycled deodorant cans. We reinvent our equipment manufacturing process for the QEOP gym and a second installation in Hemel Hempstead – incorporating and repurposing the aluminium from Right Guard cans for use in the TGO Energy equipment and Rig.

With stunning views of the Olympic stadium and the ArcelorMittal Orbit, the free-to-use TGO Gym offers a range of cardio and strength activities. TGO Energy pieces light up the central Rig when users pedal or step fast enough. Gym users can also charge their devices as they work out.

TGO-Energy-Gym-Right-Guard-Queen-Elizabeth-Olympic-Park-Night

With this commission, TGO are delighted to come home to the Olympic Park, following the successful delivery of the adiZone project with Olympic sponsor, adidas. As part of the launch activities, Freddie Flintoff and Jamie Redknapp film ‘The Right Guard Challenge’ at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park TGO Gym.

TGO-Gyms-Freddie-Flintoff-Jamie-Redknapp-Right-Guard-Queen-Elizabeth-Olympic-Par

Peter Tudor, Director of Visitor Services, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, recognises TGO Gyms for their sustainability and appeal to the public.

Read more

2016 - 2019
TGO get Smart - from Slough to the nation!

Working with pioneers, Slough Borough Council, TGO are commissioned to build 20 outdoor gym between 2016 and 2018, as part of their city-wide leisure provision. The brief is to be as inclusive and family-friendly as possible, appealing to the one in three people in Slough who are doing less than 30 minutes of physical activity per week.
TGO-Gyms-Slough-Activation
The gyms are an immediate hit with local people and the energetic team at Slough Borough Council are keen to go much further with TGO on measurement and sustainable activation – and TGO have something up their sleeve!

In comes the next generation of equipment, tools and training to increase physical activity, enhance gym user experience and create the most sustainable outdoor gyms in the world. Read the full Slough activation case study here.

Firstly, TGO integrate brand new Smart Gym technology into key pieces of kit at Salt Hill Park in Slough, to track the hits on TGO Energy equipment, as well as measuring the watts generated. This quantitative data is then accessed via scanning the equipment, displayed on a user-friendly dashboard. 
TGO-Activate-App-Dashboard

In the 12 weeks following installation of the Smart Gym technology, there are 3,411 hits on the TGO Smart Energy Hand Bike at Salt Hill Park – an average of 284 users per week on just one piece of equipment.

Secondly, TGO launch and promote the TGO Activate App – an App that enables local people to find their TGO Gym, discover the free equipment, log and track their activity, monitor their wellbeing, share their workouts on social media and discover local events. The App also gives insights for the gym owner, including anonymised demographics, activity and wellbeing data.

TGO-Activate-App

Thirdly, TGO Activator training is developed. Between July and December 2018, TGO develop two bespoke qualifications (accredited by Active IQ) relating to the activation of inactive people on TGO outdoor gyms. In Slough, TGO and Slough Borough Council recruit and train 9 local people as TGO Gym Activators, enabling them to deliver TGO’s Big Community workout (BCW).
TGO-Slough-Community-Training-Big-Community-Workout
Early signs for inclusivity are positive – the majority of the uptake of the BCW is from the BAME community including participation by family groups. Participant ages range from 5 to a couple in their late 70s.

TGO-Slough-Community-Training-Big-Community-Workout

Here's one of the amazing TGO Activators in Slough, Sabeena, talking about the impact in her community.

Read more

2019 into the 20s
The next generation of activation

We’re deep into the research and development for another exciting TGO first – embedding the next phase of activation within TGO Gym installations and our inclusive approach to community health. Our Virtual Activator screens are being installed with pioneering partners in 2020 and we are launching our range of classes and programmes.

We'll tell you the full story very soon!

TGO-Gyms-Activation