Anyone who comes to our classes is welcome to join and get involved. In the co-op you’ll meet other brilliant people, co-create your dream gym, and help pioneer this unique approach.
Why are we a co-op?
Most gyms – and especially those big, low-budget gym chains that most of us initially turn to if we want to exercise – are designed to maximise profit, not our fitness. They depend on us buying memberships and then not attending, and it could be argued that they are designed with this in mind – unwelcoming, alienating industrial spaces with intimidating machines, few coaches, loud music, and lots of mirrors.
It is a cynical but so far successful industrial model that defines what it means to be fit and well, uses that to attempt to shame us into buying a membership, and then nurtures an exclusionary culture that means many of us won’t attend.
We believe that the many positive benefits of exercise should be made accessible, affordable and adaptive for anybody, regardless of their gender, ethnicity, identity, ability or body shape, and that this should also be reflected in the organisational structure of our gym.
For this reason we incorporated as a co-operative society. A co-operative is “an autonomous association of persons united voluntarily to meet their common economic, social, and cultural needs and aspirations through a jointly-owned enterprise”.
Being member-run means we can provide social health and fitness activities in an environment where we can feel comfortable and supported, and from this can emerge a different sort of fitness culture – one unique to us, that serves our members’ varied reasons for training rather than conforming to some imposed “ideal”.
We are excited about the possibility for change that this model could bring to the fitness industry and hope that it may be replicated. Do get in touch if we can help.
Who’s who at the co-op
Our directors make up our committee and are responsible for keeping us on track in regards to overall strategy of the gym. As a gym with co-operative operating model, and a commitment to being accessible to people who find traditional gyms difficult to access or engage with, we have a set of aims and objectives that the directors keep in mind at all times.
Many people who come to the gym classes choose to become a member by paying a monthly subscription to attend classes, this makes attendance much cheaper than paying per class, and also helps the gym have a more solid income.
A different type of membership is that of the voting members, who pay a “Pay What You Feel” annual fee to take part in the decision making of the gym, and volunteer their time to help with the multitude of tasks that keeps the gym running.
Our coaches are professional personal trainers and are paid for the time they spend coaching the classes run by Bristol Co-operative Gym. They also put in additional volunteer hours which contribute to the overall high quality training programmes that we deliver.
Join the co-op!
Become a member of our co-operative to help make decisions about how the gym is run (and get a discount on all classes and courses!)