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UNITING THE WORLD OF FITNESS
Health Club Management

Health Club Management

features

People profile: Edwina Brocklesby

Founder of Silverfit

Published in Health Club Management 2017 issue 11
Brocklesby started running aged 50 and did an Ironman triathlon at 72 / PHOTO: SUSANNE HAKUBA
Brocklesby started running aged 50 and did an Ironman triathlon at 72 / PHOTO: SUSANNE HAKUBA
For gyms looking to engage with this demographic, they need to make socialising part of the mix… they at least need to have somewhere where they can offer people a cup of tea after the class

What is Silverfit?
We’re a charity offering a variety of exercise opportunities to the over 45s, including Nordic walking, tai chi, pilates and cheerleading. Our core message is that it’s never too late to start exercise.

We go into areas of economic deprivation, where we know we can make a difference. Currently, we run activities in 13 venues in eight London boroughs. Last year we had 18,000 attendances, of these 17 per cent said they were completely inactive before they joined and 56 per cent were doing no more than 60 minutes of exercise each week. Now 60 per cent of our members exercise for 90 minutes or more each week.

Why did you start Silverfit?
I’m a former social worker who started running at 50. At the age of 72, I became Britain’s oldest woman to complete an Ironman triathlon. I came to sport late, but then realised its many benefits in terms of health and alleviating social isolation.

Silverfit evolved in 2013, out of a fundraising marathon I used to organise. We started running events in Hyde Park and then Burgess Park in Southwark followed. So far it has just grown organically.

How are you funded?
We try and offer the sessions for free. Even our paid sessions never cost more than £3 as we don’t want affordability to ever be a barrier to participation. We’ve received funding from various sources – the most significant coming from United Saint Saviour’s Charity in Southwark for £45,700 over two years.

We’ve recently been chosen by the London Marathon as one of their charities to work with on their new initiative, The Big Half. We’re hoping that it will yield sufficient income to fund a management post to take the charity forward. Currently we’re looking for people to take up charity places on our behalf: they can walk it or enter it as a team.

What is the key to engaging more with an older demographic?
Using older instructors and making the sessions fun and sociable. We always offer the opportunity to socialise before and after the session. We do a lot of data collection about people’s motivation and overwhelmingly the aspect which keeps people coming back is the social element.

Although people don’t tend to admit it when they first join, many older people are socially isolated and making friends is as important as the exercise to them.

For gyms looking to engage with this demographic, they need to make socialising part of the mix. If the venue doesn’t have a café, they at least need to have somewhere where they can offer people a cup of tea after the class.

How could the health and fitness industry engage with what you are doing?
In the future we want to expand with more activities and more people, so it would be great to work in partnership with more facilities to promote fitness for older people. This is something that we’re currently working on in south London, with Better, and will be expanding on going forward.

In the meantime, it would be great if operators could encourage their members to enter The Big Half to help raise money for us!

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Britain’s oldest female Ironman triathlete talks about her charity, Silverfit, and how to best engage the older market
Edwina Brocklesby, Founder of Silverfit,Edwina Brocklesby, Silverfit, Ironman triathlete,
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features

People profile: Edwina Brocklesby

Founder of Silverfit

Published in Health Club Management 2017 issue 11
Brocklesby started running aged 50 and did an Ironman triathlon at 72 / PHOTO: SUSANNE HAKUBA
Brocklesby started running aged 50 and did an Ironman triathlon at 72 / PHOTO: SUSANNE HAKUBA
For gyms looking to engage with this demographic, they need to make socialising part of the mix… they at least need to have somewhere where they can offer people a cup of tea after the class

What is Silverfit?
We’re a charity offering a variety of exercise opportunities to the over 45s, including Nordic walking, tai chi, pilates and cheerleading. Our core message is that it’s never too late to start exercise.

We go into areas of economic deprivation, where we know we can make a difference. Currently, we run activities in 13 venues in eight London boroughs. Last year we had 18,000 attendances, of these 17 per cent said they were completely inactive before they joined and 56 per cent were doing no more than 60 minutes of exercise each week. Now 60 per cent of our members exercise for 90 minutes or more each week.

Why did you start Silverfit?
I’m a former social worker who started running at 50. At the age of 72, I became Britain’s oldest woman to complete an Ironman triathlon. I came to sport late, but then realised its many benefits in terms of health and alleviating social isolation.

Silverfit evolved in 2013, out of a fundraising marathon I used to organise. We started running events in Hyde Park and then Burgess Park in Southwark followed. So far it has just grown organically.

How are you funded?
We try and offer the sessions for free. Even our paid sessions never cost more than £3 as we don’t want affordability to ever be a barrier to participation. We’ve received funding from various sources – the most significant coming from United Saint Saviour’s Charity in Southwark for £45,700 over two years.

We’ve recently been chosen by the London Marathon as one of their charities to work with on their new initiative, The Big Half. We’re hoping that it will yield sufficient income to fund a management post to take the charity forward. Currently we’re looking for people to take up charity places on our behalf: they can walk it or enter it as a team.

What is the key to engaging more with an older demographic?
Using older instructors and making the sessions fun and sociable. We always offer the opportunity to socialise before and after the session. We do a lot of data collection about people’s motivation and overwhelmingly the aspect which keeps people coming back is the social element.

Although people don’t tend to admit it when they first join, many older people are socially isolated and making friends is as important as the exercise to them.

For gyms looking to engage with this demographic, they need to make socialising part of the mix. If the venue doesn’t have a café, they at least need to have somewhere where they can offer people a cup of tea after the class.

How could the health and fitness industry engage with what you are doing?
In the future we want to expand with more activities and more people, so it would be great to work in partnership with more facilities to promote fitness for older people. This is something that we’re currently working on in south London, with Better, and will be expanding on going forward.

In the meantime, it would be great if operators could encourage their members to enter The Big Half to help raise money for us!

Sign up here to get HCM's weekly ezine and every issue of HCM magazine free on digital.
https://www.leisureopportunities.co.uk/images/78564_600907.jpg
Britain’s oldest female Ironman triathlete talks about her charity, Silverfit, and how to best engage the older market
Edwina Brocklesby, Founder of Silverfit,Edwina Brocklesby, Silverfit, Ironman triathlete,
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The global wellness economy will grow by 9.9 per cent annually and reach US$7trn by ...
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Inclusive Fitness Boston, a health club created specifically for those with disabilities and their families, ...
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The Women in Fitness Association (WIFA), is partnering with Sport Alliance to undertake a survey ...
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FitnessOnDemand’s divisional vice president Uday Anumalachetty discusses what live fitness really means for clubs and their members today
Opinion: Why we need to reimagine what live fitness really means
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier news: Greenvale Leisure Centre reveals brand new gym equipped with Core Health & Fitness products
Greenvale Leisure Centre in Northern Ireland last month revealed its brand new 800sq m gym completely transformed with Core Health & Fitness products.
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier news: 1Rebel enlists FunXtion to elevate its revolutionary, customer-driven RIG concept
A partnership with FunXtion and its MultiScreen Solution software has allowed 1Rebel to enhance its in-club experience to a much more connected and engaged level.
Featured operator news
Featured operator news: Being active helps Parkwood Leisure customers save the NHS £16m
Parkwood Leisure, one of the UK’s leading public leisure facilities operators, helped prevent more than 7,000 cases of stroke, dementia, depression and type 2 diabetes in 2019, saving the NHS £16 million, a new social value report has shown.
Featured operator news
Featured operator news: Everyone Active successfully reopens exercise referral scheme thanks to EXi partnership
Local authority leisure provider Everyone Active has reopened its essential exercise referral scheme, by joining forces with EXi, the NHS-approved exercise prescription app and data portal.
Company profiles
Company profile: Perfect Gym Solutions S.A.
Perfect Gym currently provides fitness software solutions to customers in 55+ countries, servicing more than ...
Company profiles
Company profile: Keiser UK LTD
For more than four decades, Keiser has influenced the training of athletes, fitness enthusiasts and ...
Catalogue Gallery
Click on a catalogue to view it online
Directory
Salt therapy products
Saltability: Salt therapy products
Whole body cryotherapy
Art of Cryo: Whole body cryotherapy
Management software
Premier Software Solutions: Management software
Lockers/interior design
Safe Space Lockers Ltd: Lockers/interior design
Flooring
Total Vibration Solutions / TVS Sports Surfaces: Flooring
Skincare
Comfort Zone - Davines S.p.A: Skincare
Wearable technology solutions
MyZone: Wearable technology solutions
Spa software
SpaBooker: Spa software
Exercise equipment
Matrix Fitness: Exercise equipment
trade associations
International SPA Association - iSPA: trade associations
Property & Tenders
Welwyn Garden City
Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council
Property & Tenders
Newport, Shropshire
Lilleshall Sports Academy
Property & Tenders
Diary dates
01-03 Feb 2022
Coventry Building Society Arena, Coventry, United Kingdom
Diary dates
07-10 Apr 2022
Exhibition Centre , Cologne, Germany
Diary dates
15-16 Jun 2022
ExCeL London, London, United Kingdom
Diary dates
01-07 Dec 2022
tbc, Dunedin, New Zealand
Diary dates
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