Ladies-only fitness class thanks Bedford Borough Council as it celebrates its 10th birthday – Bedford Borough Council

A ladies-only fitness class which was launched with support from Bedford Borough Council is celebrating its 10th birthday!
Fitnisa runs twice a week at Queens Park Community Centre, after being launched in January 2014.
And it allows women of all ages, backgrounds and abilities to exercise with guidance from a fully-qualified female instructor.
The group was founded by Fsella Afzal-Pagliari, who couldn’t find a women-only group in Bedford Borough and decided the only solution was to set up one herself.
She said: “Joining a class was something I wanted to do for a couple of reasons, but it was surprisingly difficult to find one that suited me. One place did have classes for women only – but there were men coming in and out of the room, and that’s not something everybody feels comfortable with.
“I contacted the Sports Development Team at Bedford Borough Council, and I was amazed at how attentive they were to the dilemma – they advised me that if I could find the venue and demonstrate that there would be demand for the class, that funding could be made available.”
The group, which now has more than 100 members, provides affordable and accessible classes for women. Any woman over the age of 18 is welcome to attend.
“The classes aren’t just beneficial for your physical wellbeing,” added Fsella. “The group is good for mental health, and it’s a great place to make friends. It’s a support network, a place to have a laugh, and a way to work off your frustrations. Whatever your budget, background or fitness level, if you’d feel more comfortable in a women-only group then come and join us.”
Councillor Sarah Gallagher, Portfolio Holder for Leisure & Culture, said; “This is a great example of the work that the Sports Development team do. This project started slowly, but it is important to stay with these initiatives as it takes time to build consistency and trust.
“The most important thing with community projects is to have them led by someone who the target audience trust and identify with – and that is what happened here. Sports Development is all about helping to grow projects and, ideally, getting them to a stage where they can sustain themselves, as well as helping them through the maze of possible grant funding applications.
“The work of the Sports Development Team is all about offering opportunities to all members of the community to participate in and increase attendance in physical activity programmes, so that we can all benefit from what sport and physical activity can provide.
“Fsella is an inspirational and hard-working lady who really only needed a little support and encouragement from us. Her hard work and dedication has made Fitnisa what it now is.”
Find out more about Fitnisa by emailing
A community cafe which offers food, friendship, and fun for all the family, has been launched in Queens Park.
Café Connect is open every other Wednesday during term time from 12.15-2.15pm, at the community centre in Marlborough Road.
On Saturday 9 September, Bedford Borough Council will host a launch day to celebrate the opening of the Queens Park Family Hub.
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