James Balfour says 1Rebel is ready to 'hand the keys to its clubs' to the NHS
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James Balfour says 1Rebel is ready to 'hand the keys to its clubs' to the NHS

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This is as close to a wartime scenario as many of us will ever experience, and we believe it’s a time to come together and each do what we can

1Rebel co-founder, James Balfour, has today made an open offer to the NHS, saying he is ready to hand over the keys to all 1Rebel's London clubs for use by the NHS as the coronavirus spreads across the capital.

Speaking to Health Club Management, Balfour explained: “London is currently the area of the UK most heavily affected by the coronavirus and we’re hearing stark warnings about impending shortages of hospital beds.

"If we can be part of the solution, we absolutely want to be.

“We made an announcement earlier this week that, effective from 21 March, we will be closing our studios until further notice in the interest of staff and member wellbeing.

“We're now supporting members with at-home workouts via Instagram, with our first video viewed over 1,000 times in just a few hours. But in terms of the studios themselves, rather than see the space lie empty, we are very much hoping it can be used for the public good.

“We estimate that, across our seven studios in central London, we could make space for 300–400 beds. There are also extended changing facilities, showers, and areas for IT facilities. There is great lighting and even the fact that we have sound systems – offering the opportunity to play music – could lift people’s spirits.

“We don’t know exactly how the NHS might use our studios, and obviously this is a situation that’s evolving by the day, so we felt the best route was to share details of what’s available with an open offer to the NHS to use whatever it would like.

“To that end, we have created a new website which has just gone live and which provides a detailed factsheet about all of our clubs. We hope this will provide all the information the NHS needs to decide if and how it might best use our space.”

He continued: “This is as close to a wartime scenario as many of us will ever experience, and we believe it’s a time to come together and each do what we can.

“We are certainly invoking the wartime spirit at 1Rebel. We have already had confirmation from our partner, Technogym, that it will wholeheartedly support the project and the logistical moves required to make it happen. And we contacted our 1Rebel army to see if anyone would be available to help us move all the equipment. The response has been phenomenal.”

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1Rebel co-founder, James Balfour, has today made an open offer to the NHS, saying he is ready to hand over the keys to all 1Rebel's London clubs for use by the NHS as the coronavirus spreads across the capital.
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