Ethical gyms flex their muscles with £14.99 membership fee
Sunday 29 June 2008
Bridges Ventures, the socially aware private equity firm backed by the Apax founder Sir Ronald Cohen and Tom Singh of retail chain New Look, will begin an assault on the UK fitness market tomorrow when 'The Gym' is launched, charging customers just £14.99 a month with no contract or joining fee. The group's first business, in Hounslow, west London, will be open 24 hours a day and has already secured 5,000 members, who have signed up at the discounted £9.99-a-month tariff.
Anne-Marie Harris, investment director at Bridges, said: "About 12 per cent of the UK population are gym members but research indicates this figure could increase significantly if high membership fees were not so restrictive. The Gym offers a logical solution to the problem."
In keeping with the group's socially aware credentials, all of the equipment's electronic components, with the exception of treadmills, are self-powered. Typically, such equipment is run off a mains power supply.
Bridges will invest an initial £1m in the group, which is headed by the sector veteran John Treharne, former boss of Dragon's Health Clubs. The group has aggressive plans to roll out further businesses across the UK and has already earmarked a number of sites. It hopes to attract members away from more expensive gyms, as the credit crunch hits consumer pockets.
"Cheaper joining fees don't mean cheap equipment," said Ms Harris. "We are using the best Cybex equipment – more up to date than many other gyms. People who are members of gyms often feel they are very expensive – a bit of a luxury. We hope The Gym will change that."
Bridges Ventures invests in companies in deprived areas, working to raise standard in areas such as healthcare, the environment and education.
The group has spent time researching the launch of new gyms in America, where low-cost offers are more prevalent.
The Gym's £14.99-a-month membership fee compares well with established offerings such as Virgin Active, which charges up to £83 a month in London.
- 1 Boston Marathon runner's search for mystery man she kissed ends with letter from his wife
- 3 Frankie Boyle on Scottish independence: 'In the Interests of Unity, F**k Off'
- 4 How to gain confidence and maximise your sexual potential
- 5 Chinese theme park sets up 'death simulator' where volunteers can experience being cremated
Saudi Arabia's King Salman sacks senior aide for 'slapping' a journalist behind him live on TV
Boston Marathon runner's search for mystery man she kissed ends with letter from his wife
Frankie Boyle on Scottish independence: 'In the Interests of Unity, F**k Off'
Italian police 'reveal' what Jesus looked like as a young boy
Florida couple forced to register as sex offenders for having sex on public beach
In defence of liberal democracy
General Election 2015: Post-election 'shambles' looms as 70 per cent of voters say SNP 'should not be able to veto UK government policies'
The Rothschild Libel: Why has it taken 200 years for an anti-Semitic slur that emerged from the Battle of Waterloo to be dismissed?
General Election 2015: UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power, Labour warns
General election live: SNP suspends two members for disrupting Labour rally
Schools forced to act as 'miniature welfare states' with teachers buying underwear and even haircuts for poor pupils
iJobs Money & Business
£60000 - £70000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...
£25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A global leader operating...
£27 - 35k + Bonus + Benefits: Guru Careers: A Management Accountant is needed ...
£40-50k + Benefits.: Guru Careers: A Project Manager / Business Analyst is nee...