Commercial gyms are designed to maximise profit – not fitness or well-being. Conventional fitness culture attempts to shame us into gym membership and creates exclusionary environments that prevent us from attending.

Our gym is the solution – a not-for-profit co-operative space that supports an approach to fitness unique to each member.

Since 2016, powered by volunteers, we have trained with over 1,000 people in parts of the city with limited access to health and fitness facilities.

Originally based at All Hallows Hall in Easton, in October 2021 we took on sole occupancy of a space in St Anne’s House run by Bricks – a social enterprise supporting local and creative communities in Bristol.

We had always dreamed of designing a gym from scratch and now had the opportunity to do so. We began a unique, collaborative design process between our members, coaches, architects 2A1M, and experts in accessible, inclusive and community-engaged approaches to fitness.

Our crowdfunding campaign to make this a reality begins on Monday 14th March!

As the first gym of its kind, we believe this model holds great promise for removing common barriers to gym-based physical activity and hope that Bristol Co-operative Gym can become a pioneering example of a new form of community-led centre for social physical activity.

BCG is a different way of doing a gym. It’s fun and supportive. There are no mirrors and the emphasis is on you achieving your goals in a safe and friendly environment.

Aims

  • To build a culture of non-judgement and celebration of each other’s progress
  • To build a supportive and inclusive culture, free from assumptions about identity and appearance
  • To empower people to create healthy training habits
  • To engage people who are excluded from most training facilities
  • To provide high quality coaching and training facilities
  • To have fair pricing models, remaining as affordable as possible
  • To be a financially sustainable organisation, free from reliance on external funding
  • To work with local community groups to improve our offer and accessibility for all members of our local communities. Further, we wish to reach out to communities most likely to feel excluded from mainstream commercial gyms.
  • To empower people to improve their own physical and mental well-being

Objectives

  • To make best use of our equipment and resources through well-attended sessions
  • To continue to improve our offer through increased number and diversity of sessions
  • To use accessible venues and work towards a secure tenure
  • To employ professional class leaders with a fair wage and fair contracts