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Personal Trainer recognised for supporting disabled people going through loneliness

Javeno McLean being handed his award at the gym

A personal trainer has been recognised for their commitment supporting disabled, sick and elderly people.

Javeno McLean was the winner of ITV’s Good Morning Britain’s Local Loneliness Champion 2023, which awards individuals who have gone that extra mile to support their local community.

McLean has helped people who feel isolated through his experience as an exercise and health specialist for the past 20 years.

Ever since Javeno saw a young boy in his wheelchair struggling in the gym, he wanted to help those less fortunate than himself.

He told Good Morning Britain:  "I could see that he had all this amazing inside, but he wasn't showing it. He was letting somebody say to him 'stay in that box'".

Eager to help the lad, McLean offered to give him personal training.

"I came up to him and I said," Let me train you." For about ten minutes I made him get out of his chair because I knew he could. I made him lift a little bit heavier because I knew he could,” McLean told the popular ITV morning show.

"Then his parents came over, and I'll never forget - his dad was a big man - he came over and he gave me a hug. It was just a beautiful moment and I knew I did something right."

McLean is now focused on making the gym accessible for as many people as he possibly can regardless of any physical limitations they may have.

He said: "Since I was 16, I've been doing this for 22 years for free. Nobody in my family's got a disability, but I just feel like I've got a gift for making people smile through exercise."

McLean received the award at the gym surrounded by a group of people he has helped over the past two decades.

One of the individuals who was there to congratulate him was Brenda, who he has trained with since 2008.

She said: "I've been training with Javeno for about 15 years. I was one of the first people to come to his classes.

"It's not how I imagined a gym to be like. It's more like a family. Everybody knows everybody. We look out for one another.

"If I didn't come here, I'd probably be more isolated."

Also there to add their support was Aimee, who has benefitted from McLean’s kindness.

She "I've been training with Javeno for just over a year now, and it's been the best thing I ever did.

"You don't have room to feel lonely here."

One of his most recent clients is Kiera, who was left with severe nerve damage following chemotherapy for a brain tumour.

She said: "He's just such a big energy. I love him."

McLean makes the effort not only to train his clients, but also build connections so they know they are not alone.

He said: "I put so much effort into becoming friends. I need to know your story, I need to like you. I need to know everything about you, your mum, your brother, sister, nosy neighbour.

"If we become friends, you've got no choice. If I love you, I'm going to get you in shape. I'm going to try and change your life."

McLean also runs a community gym for elderly and disabled people, offers free gym classes for people with cancer and launched a press up challenge to support a boy living with cerebral palsy.

[ Gym goers spending increases by 42 percent in January and February ]

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