Community spotlight: Jones and Us is transforming lives through the power of sport

A Paisley social enterprise is helping hundreds of people in Renfrewshire transform their physical and mental health through sport.

Launched in 2019 by Yoko Jones with the dream of bringing people together through the power of exercise, the group now runs multiple classes and groups all throughout the area.

Yoko, 32, wanted her classes to be accessible to everyone, and Jones and Us focuses on delivering programmes to as many people as possible, including families, mums and babies, people with disabilities and children of all ages.

They also regularly host hiking trips in a number of areas in Scotland.

After years of working in the fitness industry, she noticed classes and facilities were not also freely available for everyone.

That is the core value which helped form her ever-growing social enterprise.

Yoko told the Express: “I realised there was a huge gap and I need for marginalised groups to be included within the sporting sector.

“After years in the coaching industry I didn’t feel like we were targeting the right people.

“So I wanted to set up a company which meant we could go where people needed us.

Yoko said she noticed a gap in accessibility while working as a fitness coach
(Image: Jones and Us)

“We wanted to help as many people become mentally and physically strong as we could.

“In particular, people who otherwise might not be able to make the most of other services.

“That’s when I came up with the idea of having a mobile multi sports and now also a mobile fitness hub meaning we can travel to the clients or to meet them at a venue of their choice.”

Since Jones and Us launched two years ago, Yoko has watched it grow into a much-loved group, and she is now seeing people’s lives transformed before her eyes thanks to her efforts and those of her volunteers and coaches.

Keeping things fun is the key to her success, and that is a philosophy she uses with both adults and children who take part in the classes.

And by keeping things fun, it allows people to come together, turning Jones and Us into a community.

Yoko added: “I have met so many people from all different walks of life and it has been fantastic to see the difference coming along to classes has made to people.

“We know how wonderfully beneficial and fun sports can be for everyone and we’re focused on helping as many people as possible by tailoring programmes to their individual needs and goals.

Yoko wants to bring people together using sports
(Image: Jones and Us)

“When training with us you’re not just joining a workout class but a community as well.

“It’s something that I think is needed now more than ever because of the covid pandemic.

“People have been isolated and a lot of people have come out of it realising we need to be taking more care of our mental health and our bodies.”

Now, thanks to new funding, Jones and Us has beg plans to continue expanding.

Yoko and her team have now set up a base alongside the Sea Cadets in their unit in Foxbar, and they have also purchased a new van which will help them on their way to offering even more services throughout the area.

There are regular classes for people with disabilities
(Image: Jones and Us)

The covid pandemic also pushed them to transform how they deliver their classes, and Yoko regularly hold sessions online.

She added: “We want to open Jones and Us up to even more people and we are really excited about our new base in the Sea Cadet unit.

“Having our van has also been fantastic to help us continue being a mobile company and get to as many people as we can.

“Sometimes I have to pinch myself when I think about how far we have come.

“I am really proud.”

For more information on the classes and services available at Jones and Us, go to https://jonesandus.net/

Daily Record – Paisley