The Foundry plans to expand its inclusive boutique fitness concept outside of London
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The Foundry plans to expand its inclusive boutique fitness concept outside of London

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We want to expand to four to five sites withing London and then move outside within the next 18 months
– Dave Thomas

boutique fitness operator The Foundry, which offers free and subsidised classes for those on state benefits, is preparing to expand its presence beyond its current base in London.

Founded by Ben Gotting and Dave Thomas in 2015, the company offers group exercise classes and semi-private personal training.

As part of its commitment to making premium fitness available to everyone, The Foundry offers free gym access each morning and afternoon for people who receive state support, as well as a heavily subsidised community class each day at a cost of £5 – instead of the usual £20.

"We also run specific sessions for those with mental health issues, a walking group and a youth academy for 11 to 16-year-olds, which is free to anyone from any background," said Thomas, explaining the company's charitable arm.

"We work with the prison service to offer ex-offenders a second chance and run mental health awareness workshops and events, collaborating with guest speakers who specialise in this field."

The first The Foundry site opened in Vauxhall in 2015 and the operator recently opened its third site at Bank.

According to Dave Thomas, the company is looking to open a further two sites in London, as well as take the concept nationwide.

"We want to expand to four to five sites withing London and then move outside within the next 18 months. I believe there is an opportunity in many other UK cities," said Thomas.

He added that The Foundry's inclusive format means it is able to attract members across a large section of society.

"Because of our strong focus on community and inclusivity, our members really do range from unemployed, and even homeless, to CEOs and board members of major institutions and celebrities," he added.

"However, the most popular demographic for classes and the gym, is the 25 to 35-year-olds. The semi-private PT appeals mainly to stressed-out city workers."

• To read a full interview with the company founders, Ben Gotting and Dave Thomas, click here for the September issue of HCM magazine

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Boutique fitness operator The Foundry, which offers free and subsidised classes for those on state benefits, is preparing to expand its presence beyond its current base in London.
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