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.
Liam Neeson's Downton dreams
Thriller is set in the secret world of British espionage
Bomber jacket worn by Mary Berry sells out within an hour
- 1 Scottish independence: Learn from Quebec's mistakes and beware of promises. Vote Yes.
- 2 iOS 8 is full of shiny new features - but it's terrible news for app developers
- 3 A bottle of wine a day is not bad for you and abstaining is worse than drinking, scientist claims
- 4 Hitler’s former food taster reveals the horrors of the Wolf’s Lair
- 5 Cocaine and cannabis haul hidden in Vatican car seized by French police
Scottish independence referendum live - The reunited kingdom: Scotland gives a clear 'No' to independence in historic referendum
Archbishop of Canterbury admits doubts about existence of God
Scottish independence: YouGov final prediction puts No campaign 8 points ahead - but Yes team remains optimistic
Scottish independence: Tory revolt against 'devo max' grows as Rail Minister Claire Perry joins
Hitler’s former food taster reveals the horrors of the Wolf’s Lair
Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained by Los Angeles police after being mistaken for a prostitute
Scottish independence referendum: A nation divided against itself
Scottish independence: David Cameron is becoming the 'George Bush of Britain'
Russia freezes Ukraine into submission: Kiev admits country doesn't have enough fuel for winter
Scottish independence: The Queen breaks silence on referendum debate – as think tank warns of £14bn black hole if Scotland votes Yes
Portuguese academic says British are 'filthy, violent and drunk'
iJobs Money & Business
£320 - £330 per day: Ashdown Group: The Ashdown Group have been engaged by a l...
To £75,000 + Pension + Benefits + Bonus: Saxton Leigh: My client is looking f...
To £85,000 + banking benefits: Saxton Leigh: You will be expected to carry out...
Up to £90,000 + benefits: Saxton Leigh: Credit Risk Audit Manager required to ...