Community gym saved by mother and son duo

PUBLISHED: 08:00 09 January 2019 | UPDATED: 09:30 09 January 2019

Caroline Ashworth and her son Dan have taken over the gym in North Street. Pictured with members of their staff.     Picture: MARK ATHERTON

Caroline Ashworth and her son Dan have taken over the gym in North Street. Pictured with members of their staff. Picture: MARK ATHERTON

Archant

A community gym has been saved from the chopping block after its previous owners were forced to close because of ‘financial difficulties’.

Top Flight Eden, in North Street, closed suddenly at the beginning of December after staff and customers arrived to find the doors locked and a notice stuck to it.

Now, one month after its closure, the gym has reopened after being rescued by a mother and son duo.

Caroline and Dan Ashworth, aged 50 and 20 respectively, have been customers at the gym for many years with Caroline leading some of the pilates classes.

Dan told the Mercury: “The previous owner had to close the gym due to financial difficulties.

“I came back from a meeting and had a message from the secretary asking if I would take it on as we had previous business projects together.

“Myself and the previous owner got on very well and I helped out here previously with the gym operations.

“There was really strong community here from day one and when we were preparing in the final weeks of December, we had people coming in to help and amazing friendships have been formed.”

Caroline said: “The old owner wanted it to remain a community gym and he sold to Dan as he knew he would honour this.

“There were some people who were lost without this place. It was their only outlet and for some it was their only means of routine and stability.

“Dan came in on the basis of his friendship with the previous owner. He knew and understood how the gym worked and what it meant to people.

“I had good community links here with Bringing Communities Together – my other business – so we teamed up.”

Caroline will be moving her business to the gym and the pair hope to offer more classes and other services to members of both businesses.

Caroline and Dan have made some changes to the gym’s running hours and membership packages to make it accessible to more people.

Eden, an women-only gym, combined with Top Flight, a boxing gym the floor above, back in October before it closed.

The move came to make a create a more diverse and better offering to compete against the bigger chains of Anytime Fitness, and Nuffield, as well as public amenities such as Hutton Moor Leisure Centre.

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