The first of a new generation of low cost gyms set to challenge the supremacy of the big-name fitness centres has opened in Hounslow.
Bridges Ventures, a not-for-profit company that says it has a 'social mission' is to open a string of new fitness centres fitted out with state-of-the-art, enrironmentally-friendly equipment and open seven days a week, 24 hours a day.
Membership costs £14.99 a month compared to an average of around £50 at other clubs, and more importantly for people from poorer backgrounds, is not tied to a contract.
The Gym, at the Blenheim Centre, already has more than 5,000 members, many of whom are first-timers and Bridges has plans to expand quickly across the UK, targeting areas with high levels of social deprivation or under-investment.
Lead by fitness sector expert John Treharne, who previously managed Dragon's Health Clubs, the company will invest an initial £1m in the venture and hopes to make the most of credit cruch fears and replicate the success low-costs gyms have had in the US and Europe.
Anne-Marie Harris of Bridges Ventures said: “We are extremely excited by this investment. About 12 per cent of the UK population are members of a gym 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. With exciting plans for expanding the business in the near future, we are confident that the investment will offer a good return for investors as well as delivering on our social impact goals.”