GET HCM
magazine
Sign up for the FREE digital edition of HCM magazine and also get the HCM ezine and breaking news email alerts.
Not right now, thanksclose this window
Les Mills
Les Mills
Les Mills
Health Club Management

Health Club Management

Follow Health Club Management on Twitter Like Health Club Management on Facebook Join the discussion with Health Club Management on LinkedIn Follow Health Club Management on Instagram
UNITING THE WORLD OF FITNESS
Get the latest news, jobs and features in your inbox
Health Club Management

Health Club Management

News

Fitness sector represented at Parliamentary Committee – calls for plan to deliver pandemic recovery

During the three lockdowns, we have lost more than 700m individual visits to facilities
– Huw Edwards

The government needs to provide the fitness and physical activity sector with a plan which will not only provide immediate, essential measures to secure its future, but will also help it to recover and grow.

Appearing before the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) Committee today (12 January), industry leaders said the pandemic has had a "devastating effect" on the sector.

Those giving evidence to the committee during the meeting were ukactive CEO, Huw Edwards, PureGym MD, Rebecca Passmore, Mytime Active's CEO, Marg Mayne and Rich Emerson, CEO of the Climbing Academy Group.

All four outlined how lockdowns during the past nine months have led to concerns not just over individual businesses, but the future of the sector as a whole.

Offering his views on the current state of the industry, Huw Edwards said the rollout of vaccines offered "light at the end of the tunnel", but that the industry had been hit hard and urgently needs government support.

"The third lockdown is a new chapter in the pandemic and we fully respect the government's measures," Edwards said.

"But the reality is that in this crisis that we face has had a major impact on the facilities and the members we represent.

"If we get to 23 March with the sector still in lockdown, that will mark a year since the industry was first forced to close its doors.

"In that year, we would only have been operating for 121 days, losing more than 240 trading days – and more than 700m individual visits to facilities.

"We're now in a situation when a significant number of operators – from the smallest to the largest – are facing major financial problems. Many have major issues relating to cashflow and are on the cusp of survival over the next couple of months," he said, while explaining that the major operators and ukactive have been in dialogue with the government on a 'open book' basis, showing their accounts and the impact of the closures on their financial state.

Edwards called for targeted financial help for the sector and a "clear, three-stage plan" in addition to existing support.

"What we need to see from the government is a plan that has three phases – a plan for survival, plan for recovery and then plan for the development of the sector so it can play its role in society."

He said new schemes were needed to help refloat the sector, including an extension of the Cycle to Work Scheme to cover the purchase of gym memberships and home fitness equipment and that ukactive has done an economic impact study of this.

Edwards' call for extra help was mirrored by Passmore who outlined three measures she said would help the industry.

"Firstly, the sharing of the burden of rent," she said.

"Secondly, a continuation of the rates holiday – which should be proportionate to the loss of revenue – and thirdly, to review the VAT the industry pays."

Many operators face a rent cliff face at the end of March when the current rent moratorium ends and a year's worth of rent comes due. The sector is lobbying for a scheme to be put in place to offer support through this period.

When asked about how confident she was that PureGym – and the wider industry – would survive the next six- to 12-month period, Passmore said: "At PureGym, we've been able to access additional finance, so I'm confident that we will be able to get through this.

"But I fear the gym sector, as a whole, is going to suffer from something of an 'economic Long COVID'.

"Operators may be able to reopen, but the reality is that it will take time to build revenues back up again.

"We're not a high-margin sector, so we will need to get revenues back up to a really decent level, between 75 and 80 per cent, before we can start eating into the losses we've suffered.

"Ultimately, we will see operators going out of business.

"This will result in the public having less places where they can get exercise and improve their physical and mental wellbeing.

"Additionally, those operators who will be able to hang on and survive won't be able to maintain or improve their offer.

"I am, however, confident that the underlying demand (for gyms) remains strong and that members will return. After all, one of the most googled terms of 2020 was 'when will gyms reopen'.

"That is reflected in us seeing a really strong bounce back in memberships and – more importantly, in visits – after the first lockdown. Memberships were back to 80 per cent of their peak, year on year and visits were at 93 per cent.

"Having said that, without targeted financial support, the 'economic long COVID' will absolutely affect the sector and we will see permanent closures."

• To watch a recording of the entire DCMS Committee session, click here.

Sign up here to get HCM's weekly ezine and every issue of HCM magazine free on digital.
Related news

UK fitness sector facing fight to keep group exercise open in tier 3 areas

24 Nov 2020
To the relief of the sector, the UK government confirmed yesterday (23 November) that gyms, ...

Gyms won't automatically shut confirms UK government, in response to Parliamentary petition

29 Oct 2020
The UK government has provided a lengthy response to a petition which demanded that gyms ...

UK leisure centres can bid for £100m of government support

22 Oct 2020
The government has pledged to invest £100m in supporting public leisure centres this winter, as ...
Latest News
Fitness First has launched a new free digital fitness hub, offering users a wide range ...
Latest News
The Gym Group has brought in Rio Ferdinand and Wais Shaifta as non-executive directors, signalling ...
Latest News
As the global vaccine rollout brings reopening closer and heralds the end of lockdowns, jostling ...
Latest News
Less than half (44.9 per cent) of children and young people in England met the ...
Latest News
An England-wide survey of over 5,000 adults found that 80 per cent of people aged ...
Latest News
The government needs to provide the fitness and physical activity sector with a plan which ...
Latest News
Book4Time, a leading cloud-based business management solution for the global hospitality, spa and wellness industry, ...
Latest News
Some Brits drop their exercise habits, eat unhealthily and drink more alcohol during lockdowns, according ...
HCM Magazine
Sponsored
Technogym introduced live and on-demand functionality to Mywellness in July. Here we find out more about operators who have adopted this solution
HCM Magazine
Sponsored
Deansgate Square, the newest residential star on Manchester’s impressive skyline, is a fitting home for some of the city’s most stylish health and fitness facilities, with specialist acoustic flooring by TVS Group
HCM Magazine
HCM People
Our road map is to manage leisure facilities, developing them into community hubs and ensuring the most in need get the most support
HCM Magazine
Profile
The chair of énergie and vice chair of BMF talks to Kate Cracknell about creating an omnichannel approach that brings together indoor, outdoor, online and VR
HCM Magazine
Editor's letter
The science shows being fit mitigates against COVID-19. We’ve proven we can operate safely under the SAGE COVID-secure Framework. Time to join it up by securing essential service status
HCM Magazine
Active ageing
With many older people in crisis due to the pandemic, ukactive’s head of health and wellbeing development, Kenny Butler, explains why the organisation is launching an active ageing consultation and how you can get involved
HCM Magazine
Opinion
Steve Ward celebrates the transformational energy being unleashed in the fitness industry by the pandemic
HCM Magazine
HCM magazine
This was a year when research helped transformed the gym sector into a serious political force. Two pieces of work stand out in terms of timely impact
HCM magazine
We’ve stepped off the path this month to bring you a special 2020 review edition of HCM and to propose emerging priorities going forward, as we gird our loins to tackle 2021
HCM magazine
High quality user experience and good value for the operator. This is the winning formula behind an expanding Physical Company product range, says James Anderson
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier: Forget the ‘Netflix effect’ – it’s all about the ‘iFit effect’ to boost member retention
Addiction – a word laden with negativity. But isn’t that exactly what the fitness industry wants? For members to be addicted (in a healthy way) to exercise – not just to increase profits but, most importantly, so they can live happier, healthier and longer lives.
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier: Cryotherapy specialists, L&R Kältetechnik, launch new artofcryo.com division
L&R Kältetechnik has launched a new division, named artofcryo.com, after 30 years’ experience with -110 °C electrical solutions.
Video Gallery
CPASE creates unforgettable luxury member experience at new boutique club with Technogym
Technogym
Technogym has equipped Clare Stobart's new boutique health club – CPASE. Read more
More videos:
Company profiles
Company profile: IONTO Health & Beauty GmbH
IONTO-COMED offers a wide range of treatment beds offering maximum flexibility and the symbiosis of ...
Company profiles
Company profile: Xn Leisure Systems Ltd
Xn Leisure is a provider of cutting-edge health and fitness software, offering exceptional service to ...
Supplier Showcases
Supplier showcase - Bouncing back
Supplier Showcases
Supplier showcase - Egym: Game changer
Catalogue Gallery
Click on a catalogue to view it online
Directory
Lockers/interior design
Safe Space Lockers Ltd: Lockers/interior design
Trade associations
International SPA Association - iSPA: Trade associations
Exercise equipment
EXF Fitness Equipment: Exercise equipment
Spa software
SpaBooker: Spa software
Management software
fibodo Limited: Management software
Whole body cryotherapy
Zimmer MedizinSysteme GmbH / icelab: Whole body cryotherapy
Member feedback software
AskNicely: Member feedback software
Flooring
Total Vibration Solutions / TVS Sports Surfaces: Flooring
Uniforms
Service Sport: Uniforms
Hydrotherapy / spa fragrances
Kemitron GmbH: Hydrotherapy / spa fragrances
Property & Tenders
11 - 25 Union St, London SE1 1SD
Bankside Open Spaces Trust
Property & Tenders
Waltham Abbey, Essex
Lee Valley Regional Park Authority
Property & Tenders
Diary dates
02-04 Feb 2021
Ericsson Exhibition Hall, Ricoh Arena, Coventry, United Kingdom
Diary dates
23-26 Feb 2021
IFEMA, Madrid, Spain
Diary dates
03-04 Mar 2021
NEC, Birmingham, United Kingdom
Diary dates
03-06 Jun 2021
Expo Centre & Riviera di Rimini, Italy
Diary dates
16-17 Jun 2021
ExCeL London, London, United Kingdom
Diary dates
21-24 Sep 2021
Messe Stuttgart, Germany
Diary dates
01-07 Dec 2022
tbc, Dunedin, New Zealand
Diary dates

News

Fitness sector represented at Parliamentary Committee – calls for plan to deliver pandemic recovery

During the three lockdowns, we have lost more than 700m individual visits to facilities
– Huw Edwards

The government needs to provide the fitness and physical activity sector with a plan which will not only provide immediate, essential measures to secure its future, but will also help it to recover and grow.

Appearing before the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) Committee today (12 January), industry leaders said the pandemic has had a "devastating effect" on the sector.

Those giving evidence to the committee during the meeting were ukactive CEO, Huw Edwards, PureGym MD, Rebecca Passmore, Mytime Active's CEO, Marg Mayne and Rich Emerson, CEO of the Climbing Academy Group.

All four outlined how lockdowns during the past nine months have led to concerns not just over individual businesses, but the future of the sector as a whole.

Offering his views on the current state of the industry, Huw Edwards said the rollout of vaccines offered "light at the end of the tunnel", but that the industry had been hit hard and urgently needs government support.

"The third lockdown is a new chapter in the pandemic and we fully respect the government's measures," Edwards said.

"But the reality is that in this crisis that we face has had a major impact on the facilities and the members we represent.

"If we get to 23 March with the sector still in lockdown, that will mark a year since the industry was first forced to close its doors.

"In that year, we would only have been operating for 121 days, losing more than 240 trading days – and more than 700m individual visits to facilities.

"We're now in a situation when a significant number of operators – from the smallest to the largest – are facing major financial problems. Many have major issues relating to cashflow and are on the cusp of survival over the next couple of months," he said, while explaining that the major operators and ukactive have been in dialogue with the government on a 'open book' basis, showing their accounts and the impact of the closures on their financial state.

Edwards called for targeted financial help for the sector and a "clear, three-stage plan" in addition to existing support.

"What we need to see from the government is a plan that has three phases – a plan for survival, plan for recovery and then plan for the development of the sector so it can play its role in society."

He said new schemes were needed to help refloat the sector, including an extension of the Cycle to Work Scheme to cover the purchase of gym memberships and home fitness equipment and that ukactive has done an economic impact study of this.

Edwards' call for extra help was mirrored by Passmore who outlined three measures she said would help the industry.

"Firstly, the sharing of the burden of rent," she said.

"Secondly, a continuation of the rates holiday – which should be proportionate to the loss of revenue – and thirdly, to review the VAT the industry pays."

Many operators face a rent cliff face at the end of March when the current rent moratorium ends and a year's worth of rent comes due. The sector is lobbying for a scheme to be put in place to offer support through this period.

When asked about how confident she was that PureGym – and the wider industry – would survive the next six- to 12-month period, Passmore said: "At PureGym, we've been able to access additional finance, so I'm confident that we will be able to get through this.

"But I fear the gym sector, as a whole, is going to suffer from something of an 'economic Long COVID'.

"Operators may be able to reopen, but the reality is that it will take time to build revenues back up again.

"We're not a high-margin sector, so we will need to get revenues back up to a really decent level, between 75 and 80 per cent, before we can start eating into the losses we've suffered.

"Ultimately, we will see operators going out of business.

"This will result in the public having less places where they can get exercise and improve their physical and mental wellbeing.

"Additionally, those operators who will be able to hang on and survive won't be able to maintain or improve their offer.

"I am, however, confident that the underlying demand (for gyms) remains strong and that members will return. After all, one of the most googled terms of 2020 was 'when will gyms reopen'.

"That is reflected in us seeing a really strong bounce back in memberships and – more importantly, in visits – after the first lockdown. Memberships were back to 80 per cent of their peak, year on year and visits were at 93 per cent.

"Having said that, without targeted financial support, the 'economic long COVID' will absolutely affect the sector and we will see permanent closures."

• To watch a recording of the entire DCMS Committee session, click here.

Sign up here to get HCM's weekly ezine and every issue of HCM magazine free on digital.
Related news

UK fitness sector facing fight to keep group exercise open in tier 3 areas

24 Nov 2020
To the relief of the sector, the UK government confirmed yesterday (23 November) that gyms, ...

Gyms won't automatically shut confirms UK government, in response to Parliamentary petition

29 Oct 2020
The UK government has provided a lengthy response to a petition which demanded that gyms ...

UK leisure centres can bid for £100m of government support

22 Oct 2020
The government has pledged to invest £100m in supporting public leisure centres this winter, as ...

News

Fitness First has launched a new free digital fitness hub, offering users a wide range
The Gym Group has brought in Rio Ferdinand and Wais Shaifta as non-executive directors, signalling
As the global vaccine rollout brings reopening closer and heralds the end of lockdowns, jostling
Less than half (44.9 per cent) of children and young people in England met the
An England-wide survey of over 5,000 adults found that 80 per cent of people aged
Book4Time, a leading cloud-based business management solution for the global hospitality, spa and wellness industry,
Volution.fit
Volution.fit
Addiction – a word laden with negativity. But isn’t that exactly what the fitness industry
Some Brits drop their exercise habits, eat unhealthily and drink more alcohol during lockdowns, according
New year, new celeb workout as Mark ‘Bez’ Berry announces the launch of his own
Frasers Group will open three new regional flagship Flannels-branded retail stores during 2021 – each
The closing of gyms, leisure centres and swimming pools under COVID-19 restrictions is costing the
The UK physical activity sector will lose around £400m a month during lockdown. The figure,
HIIT brand 1Rebel has entered the Middle Eastern market for the first time, with the
MyZone Group Ltd
MyZone Group Ltd
Core Health & Fitness is proud to have signed an exclusive supplier agreement for the
ukactive has called on the UK government to draft a new National Physical Activity Plan
David Lloyd Leisure has become the latest operator to have its auditors flag up the
An international panel of experts have examined how social prescribing can play a role in
UK-based boutique operator TRIB3 will open its first site in The Netherlands next year. Due
David Lloyd Clubs will develop a new programme in January 2021, designed to help people
Virgin Active has become the latest big-box operator to signal its intention to raise cash
Miha Bodytec GmbH
Miha Bodytec GmbH
L&R Kältetechnik has launched a new division, named artofcryo.com, after 30 years’ experience with -110
An independent gym in New York City has "returned to normal" and opened its doors
Polish medical insurance outfit, Medicover, has rescued Polish operator, Fitness World, out of administration. The
fibodo Limited
fibodo Limited
1 - 20 of 11,743
HCM Magazine
Sponsored
Technogym introduced live and on-demand functionality to Mywellness in July. Here we find out more about operators who have adopted this solution
HCM Magazine
Sponsored
Deansgate Square, the newest residential star on Manchester’s impressive skyline, is a fitting home for some of the city’s most stylish health and fitness facilities, with specialist acoustic flooring by TVS Group
HCM Magazine
HCM People
Our road map is to manage leisure facilities, developing them into community hubs and ensuring the most in need get the most support
HCM Magazine
Profile
The chair of énergie and vice chair of BMF talks to Kate Cracknell about creating an omnichannel approach that brings together indoor, outdoor, online and VR
HCM Magazine
Editor's letter
The science shows being fit mitigates against COVID-19. We’ve proven we can operate safely under the SAGE COVID-secure Framework. Time to join it up by securing essential service status
HCM Magazine
Active ageing
With many older people in crisis due to the pandemic, ukactive’s head of health and wellbeing development, Kenny Butler, explains why the organisation is launching an active ageing consultation and how you can get involved
HCM Magazine
Opinion
Steve Ward celebrates the transformational energy being unleashed in the fitness industry by the pandemic
HCM Magazine
HCM magazine
This was a year when research helped transformed the gym sector into a serious political force. Two pieces of work stand out in terms of timely impact
HCM magazine
We’ve stepped off the path this month to bring you a special 2020 review edition of HCM and to propose emerging priorities going forward, as we gird our loins to tackle 2021
HCM magazine
High quality user experience and good value for the operator. This is the winning formula behind an expanding Physical Company product range, says James Anderson
HCM magazine
Nu Physio and Fitness has placed Egym at the heart of its protection and prevention model
HCM magazine
How Virtuagym and Thebodycontent created an ecosystem of fitness within a small community
HCM magazine
Power Plate UK's Davide Ferreira and Stuart Stokes from ReferAll write to HCM
HCM magazine
Regular sessions of new-generation yoga can help tackle the lockdown blues, increase sleep quality and boost mental health
HCM magazine
HCM talks to policy makers, operators and decision-makers about the public sector and trust response to the pandemic
HCM magazine
New research from the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden, has established why people who exercise when suffering from cancer generally have better outcomes
HCM magazine
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier: Forget the ‘Netflix effect’ – it’s all about the ‘iFit effect’ to boost member retention
Addiction – a word laden with negativity. But isn’t that exactly what the fitness industry wants? For members to be addicted (in a healthy way) to exercise – not just to increase profits but, most importantly, so they can live happier, healthier and longer lives.
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier: Cryotherapy specialists, L&R Kältetechnik, launch new artofcryo.com division
L&R Kältetechnik has launched a new division, named artofcryo.com, after 30 years’ experience with -110 °C electrical solutions.
Video Gallery
CPASE creates unforgettable luxury member experience at new boutique club with Technogym
Technogym
Technogym has equipped Clare Stobart's new boutique health club – CPASE. Read more
More videos:
Company profiles
Company profile: IONTO Health & Beauty GmbH
IONTO-COMED offers a wide range of treatment beds offering maximum flexibility and the symbiosis of ...
Company profiles
Company profile: Xn Leisure Systems Ltd
Xn Leisure is a provider of cutting-edge health and fitness software, offering exceptional service to ...
Supplier Showcases
Supplier showcase - Bouncing back
Supplier Showcases
Supplier showcase - Egym: Game changer
Catalogue Gallery
Click on a catalogue to view it online
Directory
Lockers/interior design
Safe Space Lockers Ltd: Lockers/interior design
Trade associations
International SPA Association - iSPA: Trade associations
Exercise equipment
EXF Fitness Equipment: Exercise equipment
Spa software
SpaBooker: Spa software
Management software
fibodo Limited: Management software
Whole body cryotherapy
Zimmer MedizinSysteme GmbH / icelab: Whole body cryotherapy
Member feedback software
AskNicely: Member feedback software
Flooring
Total Vibration Solutions / TVS Sports Surfaces: Flooring
Uniforms
Service Sport: Uniforms
Hydrotherapy / spa fragrances
Kemitron GmbH: Hydrotherapy / spa fragrances
Property & Tenders
11 - 25 Union St, London SE1 1SD
Bankside Open Spaces Trust
Property & Tenders
Waltham Abbey, Essex
Lee Valley Regional Park Authority
Property & Tenders
Diary dates
02-04 Feb 2021
Ericsson Exhibition Hall, Ricoh Arena, Coventry, United Kingdom
Diary dates
23-26 Feb 2021
IFEMA, Madrid, Spain
Diary dates
03-04 Mar 2021
NEC, Birmingham, United Kingdom
Diary dates
03-06 Jun 2021
Expo Centre & Riviera di Rimini, Italy
Diary dates
16-17 Jun 2021
ExCeL London, London, United Kingdom
Diary dates
21-24 Sep 2021
Messe Stuttgart, Germany
Diary dates
01-07 Dec 2022
tbc, Dunedin, New Zealand
Diary dates
Search news, features & products:
Find a supplier:
Les Mills
Les Mills