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Villagers sceptical about reopening of Dulverton gym
A COMMUNITY-RUN company set up after the temporary closure of a gym in Dulverton says it will be ready to 'pick up the pieces' when the re-launch by leisure
company 1610 fails.
The Exmoor Gym was closed in April due to 1610's concerns about falling membership and the long-term viability of the facility.
The leisure company plans to reopen the gym on September 10 with extended opening hours - up to 30 hours a week - new equipment, personal training and classes for body conditioning, yoga and
pilates, as well as the introduction of a GP referral scheme.
Jayne Lethaby, manager of West Somerset Leisure Centre, who will be responsible for the management of the gym said: “After speaking to the local community at length and organising taster sessions
at the gym, we really wanted to be sure that we have the right mix of services and activities that would appeal to residents and make the gym a vibrant place to be as well as commercially
“We need 100 gym memberships so the facility can operate on a sound financial basis, so if enough people come forward to join up then Dulverton will be able to enjoy a superb leisure facility for
many years to come.”
During the gym's closure, pop-up exercise sessions have been organised in All Saints Church by newly-formed, community-run company Exmoor Gym, which claims the taster week and public consultation
run by 1610 was largely ignored in Dulverton.
The company will continue to provide a variety of exercise facilities and classes for people who live on or are visiting Exmoor.
Exmoor Gym chairman, Dr Sarah Blackburn, said: “1610 Ltd may have announced a reopening date, but sadly it is still uncertain whether their plans are sustainable.
“The old Dulverton gym was burdened by 1610's overheads and central admin costs, and whatever they say about introductory discounts, the price of 1610 gym membership is definitely going up. As they
have higher costs and less than a year to run on the lease, has 1610 set itself up for failure, again?
“When 1610 fails, we will be ready to pick up the pieces and run the gym professionally.”
Exmoor Gym finance director, Ian Whybrow, added: “The 1610 statement about reopening defies basic common sense. They state (correctly) that they need 100 members to be viable - which is a few more than us because of additional overheads.
"They never achieved that before and have subsequently alienated a significant number so will not achieve it in the future. Only we can deliver the membership.”
For more information about services at the gym, visit www.1610.org.uk or call Mandy Godsell on 01643-708815.