With London gyms closing their doors, and some having already declared bankruptcy, the impact of the Covid-19 crisis on the health and fitness industry has already been devastating.
While several gyms are making efforts to transfer their offering into online classes and one-to-one sessions, one London gym chain has gone a step further and decided to offer its studios to the NHS.
1Rebel Co-Founder James Balfour says he’s ready to hand over the keys to all 1Rebel’s London clubs for use by the NHS as Covid-19 spreads across the capital.
“There has been a significant amount of coverage in the media regarding the potential shortage of beds for those who are sick during this time. It is undeniable that the strain on the NHS is going to have a profound effect on everyone involved, and it is increasingly difficult to sit and watch the news, without doing what we can to help,” Balfour tells The Standard.
“Having spoken to one NHS nurse, it appears our facilities could be a good match as they offer space for IT facilities, changing and shower areas, as well as our studios, which can be made available for bed space, with good lighting and plenty of power sockets.”
Balfour estimates that across 1Rebel’s seven studios in central London, which are normally occupied with HIIT and spinning classes, they could make space for 300–400 beds.
To make it easier for Public Health England to asses whether the studios might be fit for purpose, 1Rebel have built a simple website listing in detail all the facilities each studio offers. “There studios have great lighting and even the fact that we have sound systems – offering the opportunity to play music – could lift people’s spirits,” adds Balfour.
The news is just one of the many heartening acts of kindness that have come out this week, demonstrating a willingness from the London community to come together in the face of a crisis.
At 1Rebel, Balfour says they are “ready to come together and do what we can. Of course we are worried about the impact of this closure on our business, but, we are prepared to suffer as many difficult days there might be ahead of us, in the service of those less fortunate in this crisis.”