We are proud to be the first co-operative gym in the UK. We believe that our not-for-profit multi-stakeholder co-operative model (meaning coaches and gym users work together to create a space that improves their health and wellbeing) has so much potential for working against the cynical business practices of big gyms, and for getting more people enjoying their strength and fitness, and feeling better.
The large gym chains profit from having hundreds of times more people signed up for memberships than they could ever support in their facilities. Their business model relies on us not turning up – despite being gyms, it is not in their interests for us to come and train. This seems wrong.
Plenty of research has been done about why 67% of people don’t use their gym memberships. The most common reasons given are:
- Lack of social support
- Dissatisfaction with facilities
- Unattractive environment
- Anxiety in unfamiliar surroundings
- Lack of self-efficacy
We set up to try to offer a training space designed with these reasons in mind, from the most basic level up.
Foundational to this is our co-operative structure. Some of those reasons – lack of social support, dissatisfaction, unfamiliarity, lack of self-efficacy – have the potential to be combatted just through us all getting more involved in the design and running of our gym.
So, at the start of this new year, we would like to invite you to join the co-op and help us – whaddya say?
For 2019, we are using a pay-what-you-can model for determining membership fees, ranging from £5-£50 for the year.
When you sign up, you will be asked three questions about:
- What you would like to get from joining the co-op
- What areas you’re interested in working in
- What particular skills and knowledge you are able to offer
We have general meetings four times a year and there are sub-groups dedicated to specific aspects of running the gym that may meet more frequently. For discussion between meetings, we use an online decision-making platform called Loomio.
Current jobs to be done include:
- Putting on strength training sessions specifically for older people
- Writing up more gym policies
- Creating a style guide
- Revising the website
- Printing some t-shirts!
In exchange for your time, you will receive a 10% discount on everything the gym offers.
At our last AGM, we did a bit of dreaming about what we hope for the future of the project. In common across all of our dreams was the idea of the gym one day having its own permanent space. So that’s what we’re working – slowly – towards… Imagine that!!!!!!!!
If you’d like more information about why we set up, please read this article. If you’d like to read a first-person account of what being a co-op member’s like, our treasurer Rachel wrote an article about her experience so far.
Thanks, everyone. Happy new year. Let’s get stronger.