Freedom Leisure launches private health clubs at former LA fitness sites
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Freedom Leisure launches private health clubs at former LA fitness sites

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Not-for-profit trust Freedom Leisure has acquired three gyms formerly owned by LA fitness as part of an inaugural push into the private sector.

The sites will be operated under a newly-created division of the business: Freedom Fitness. The new arm will emulate the values and vision of Freedom Leisure – with any operating surplus reinvested back into services and facilities – but these clubs will not follow the parent brand model of being run in partnership with local authorities.

“The leisure market is extremely competitive and forward thinking operators must consider a range of opportunities for business growth,” said Ian Morey, business development director for Freedom Leisure.

“Operating stand-alone sites allows us to strengthen our reputation in new areas and build relationships with more local authorities.”

The first three Freedom Fitness clubs – in Warwick, Maidstone and Milton Keynes – were relaunched this month. Of these, Maidstone was one of the 33 clubs outlined in the LA fitness CVA (Company Voluntary Arrangement), while the Warwick and Milton Keynes sites were subsequently spun-off as part of LA’s new ‘premiumising’ strategy.

For Freedom Leisure, the new strategy represents a wider push for expansion, having recently won its first contract outside of the South East in Malvern, Worcestershire. The leisure trust now operates 30 sites in partnership with nine local authorities, and hopes its experience will help to kickstart Freedom Fitness.

“We have over 10 years’ experience operating leisure facilities and we will be bringing all the best practice from across our 30 sites into the Freedom Fitness Clubs,” added Morey.

“We will be setting ambitious targets for participation and increased activity so that these clubs make a real contribution to the health and wellbeing of their communities.”

Freedom Leisure has retained the existing staff at the new sites, while former Freedom area manager Stuart Harding has been recruited to the role of Freedom Fitness business manager. Harding will oversee operation of all three clubs, as well as a programme of facility and equipment improvements.

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Not-for-profit trust Freedom Leisure has acquired three gyms formerly owned by LA fitness as part of an inaugural push into the private sector.
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