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UK gym industry calls for sector-specific government financial support
05 Jan 2021 . BY Tom Walker
The lockdown will keep gyms, sports facilities and leisure centres closed 'until at least mid-February' / Michael D Edwards
ukactive has called on the UK government to draft a new National Physical Activity Plan and provide further sector-specific financial protection for operators in the activity sector, to support the industry through the UK's third lockdown.

CEO, Huw Edwards, said: "The UK government must protect this sector with a robust National Physical Activity Plan that supports the immediate survival of operators, their recovery as we reopen and the fulfilment of their longer-term potential to support the health of the people of this country."

Edwards said a package was also needed, to include things such as financial support for back-dated rent which will be due once the moratorium ends in March, a VAT rebate and an extension of the business rate holiday beyond March 2021.

"The government must recognise that January and February represent a vital period for gyms, pools, and leisure facilities to trade and appreciate that they currently have zero income," he said, "unlike other sectors which can sell goods online or on a takeaway basis.

“While we welcome the further support from the Chancellor, the top-up grants and funding pots will not be sufficient to save our sector’s facilities and jobs, particularly once shared across the retail, hospitality and leisure industries, as this will be no more than a sticking plaster for the financial challenges being faced.

“Gyms and leisure centres throughout the UK will find it unsustainable to operate on zero income with this limited funding. The current measures do not go far enough, and as the length of lockdown is not yet determined, it makes it impossible to plan for when revenue will start to come in again.

“Operators of all sizes across the UK are sounding the alarm that their businesses are unsustainable and facing substantial job losses if they do not get a comprehensive package of tailored financial and regulatory support.

"They must be prioritised and protected, or we risk widespread business failures," he said. “We are in dialogue with the Government to provide the latest impact modelling of this lockdown but the sector is on a cliff edge and more support needs to be given.”

Edwards added that the threat of a reduction in the number of physical activity facilities carries a serious public health risk and would have major health impacts for a generation.

“We know from the millions of people that depend on gyms, pools, and leisure centres to support their physical and mental health, how essential they are," he stressed.

"We also know that despite positive encouragement from the government, physical activity levels fell sharply and significantly during previous lockdowns, highlighting the true value of our gyms, pools and leisure centres in keeping people active.

“We cannot afford to wait until the vaccine rollout is advanced before we act," said Edwards, "so the Government must explore all options at this time and provide a credible Physical Activity Plan for maintaining support to the many millions of people who rely on these COVID-secure facilities to stay strong and healthy."

* Research from the Sheffield Hallam University and Sport England, published in September 2020 showed that for every £1 the government invests in physical activity gives a return of £4.

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Jobs   News   Products   Magazine
PRODUCT NEWS
UK gym industry calls for sector-specific government financial support
05 Jan 2021 . BY Tom Walker
The lockdown will keep gyms, sports facilities and leisure centres closed 'until at least mid-February' / Michael D Edwards
ukactive has called on the UK government to draft a new National Physical Activity Plan and provide further sector-specific financial protection for operators in the activity sector, to support the industry through the UK's third lockdown.

CEO, Huw Edwards, said: "The UK government must protect this sector with a robust National Physical Activity Plan that supports the immediate survival of operators, their recovery as we reopen and the fulfilment of their longer-term potential to support the health of the people of this country."

Edwards said a package was also needed, to include things such as financial support for back-dated rent which will be due once the moratorium ends in March, a VAT rebate and an extension of the business rate holiday beyond March 2021.

"The government must recognise that January and February represent a vital period for gyms, pools, and leisure facilities to trade and appreciate that they currently have zero income," he said, "unlike other sectors which can sell goods online or on a takeaway basis.

“While we welcome the further support from the Chancellor, the top-up grants and funding pots will not be sufficient to save our sector’s facilities and jobs, particularly once shared across the retail, hospitality and leisure industries, as this will be no more than a sticking plaster for the financial challenges being faced.

“Gyms and leisure centres throughout the UK will find it unsustainable to operate on zero income with this limited funding. The current measures do not go far enough, and as the length of lockdown is not yet determined, it makes it impossible to plan for when revenue will start to come in again.

“Operators of all sizes across the UK are sounding the alarm that their businesses are unsustainable and facing substantial job losses if they do not get a comprehensive package of tailored financial and regulatory support.

"They must be prioritised and protected, or we risk widespread business failures," he said. “We are in dialogue with the Government to provide the latest impact modelling of this lockdown but the sector is on a cliff edge and more support needs to be given.”

Edwards added that the threat of a reduction in the number of physical activity facilities carries a serious public health risk and would have major health impacts for a generation.

“We know from the millions of people that depend on gyms, pools, and leisure centres to support their physical and mental health, how essential they are," he stressed.

"We also know that despite positive encouragement from the government, physical activity levels fell sharply and significantly during previous lockdowns, highlighting the true value of our gyms, pools and leisure centres in keeping people active.

“We cannot afford to wait until the vaccine rollout is advanced before we act," said Edwards, "so the Government must explore all options at this time and provide a credible Physical Activity Plan for maintaining support to the many millions of people who rely on these COVID-secure facilities to stay strong and healthy."

* Research from the Sheffield Hallam University and Sport England, published in September 2020 showed that for every £1 the government invests in physical activity gives a return of £4.

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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.
Pulse Fitness updates iGym London with state-of-the-art technology
Pulse Fitness has recently completed a refurbishment of the fitness facilities at iGym London.
Storytelling - the future of fitness content
Heading into 2021, storytelling will be a key trend among fitness content creators and connected fitness providers, as the industry recognises its potential to unlock ultra- engaging experiences that boost retention.
What does a socially distanced leisure centre and health club look like?
The world has had to get used to social distancing in 2020 and any business operating in the leisure and hospitality sectors has had to face this challenge more than most.
AskNicely helps empower businesses to improve customer experience and boost NPS
Maintaining a consistent member experience across a growing health and fitness brand can prove challenging.
Ariston’s range of water heaters can reduce running costs for gyms
Ariston’s electric water heaters create hot water cost-effectively, ensuring gym-goers can enjoy a post-workout shower, due to fast reheat times and large storage capacities.
A runner’s life, by Dame Kelly Holmes
I started running when I was 12 years old, a skinny girl with an afro. I knew I loved running, I felt free and seemed to glide easily rather than pound the pavements.
Uscreen announces first to market Apple Watch Fitness Tracker
At Uscreen, we pride ourselves on being proactive innovators in the industry. We're continually doing our research and predicting where the industry is going so we can ensure the state-of-the-art technology to back you up in your video business.
Xn Leisure’s five-step process to increasing member retention
While leisure operators can generate interest and build an audience fairly easily, the challenge is converting an audience into a paying, engaged community – and keeping them there.
Copper clothing can keep staff and members safe
Snap Fitness franchisee, Kunal Patel, is kitting out all staff – from personal trainers to cleaners – with copper-infused masks and gloves from medtech company, Copper Clothing.
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Precor

Throughout our history, we have been at the vanguard of fitness innovation and award-winning CV pr [more...]
+ More profiles  
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+ More catalogues  

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+ More videos  

DIRECTORY
+ More directory  
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22 Jan 2021

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+ More diary  
 


ADVERTISE . CONTACT US

Leisure Media, Portmill House, Portmill Lane,
Hitchin, Hertfordshire SG5 1DJ Tel: +44 (0)1462 431385

©Cybertrek 2021

ABOUT LEISURE MEDIA
LEISURE MEDIA MAGAZINES
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LEISURE MEDIA PRODUCT SEARCH
PRINT SUBSCRIPTIONS
FREE DIGITAL SUBSCRIPTIONS