“I came alive,” says Carl. “I was 40, and had never felt better in my life. I wanted as many people as possible to feel like I did.”
Having worked with social enterprises that helped the homeless, ex-offenders and drug addicts in recovery, Carl saw the potential for creating a business that used woodlands-based exercise to empower people seeking to make changes in their lives. Both he and Steve were well placed to draw upon personal experience.
“When it comes to addiction, we’ve both been there,” Carl says. “I used running for my own recovery. We discussed how the types of people I had been working with would really benefit from holistic personal training, but couldn’t afford it. Setting up this business was our calling.”
Based upon the restorative powers of fitness and nature, Primal Roots runs outdoor programmes that focus on both internal and external strength. For everyone from homeless individuals to the general public to corporate groups, the sessions consist of natural movement workouts, along with tailored coaching in health education, personal development and leadership skills. All delivered in the beautiful, ancient woodlands of Kent.
“It’s nature’s gym,” says Carl. “I used to go the gym, but hated it. The fluorescent lights, the bad music… We offer a very healthy alternative.”
There are plans for the business to develop a partnership with the Forestry Commission to provide corporate team-building days, but Primal Roots will continue to cater for everyone – which includes the recruitment of those experiencing mental and social challenges.
“There’s only two of us at the moment, so we need people to help us, particularly with the corporate team-building. If you have a history of addiction or homelessness, then we’ll consider you first for employment.
“We don’t preach,” Carl concludes. “We haven’t got all the answers, but we can show you a few tricks to make yourself feel better.”
For more information on sessions or to hire Primal Roots, go to www.primalroots.org.uk
By Theo Hooper