Harry Pointon has offered one-on-one personal tuition at his gym, TransFlash in Trinity Row, Manchester for six years. The space under the arches gives, he says, “a private environment where there is just me and one client at a time in a 3,500 square foot gym."
Because of the space he has available and the one-to-one service that he provides, Harry hoped he could open up quickly after the COVID-19 lockdown. But his hopes were dashed when his local council was required to categorise his gym under government guidelines in the same bracket as busy commercial gyms full of hundreds of strangers working out alongside each other.
Like every gym owner operating from railway arches, Harry had to close down his business completely during lockdown. He said: “As soon as the government announced the shutdown, I was very worried. I would have done everything I could to keep the gym open, but that wasn’t possible. Then we had to wait for such a long time to hear when we might be on the list of businesses allowed to reopen. It was really hard to just keep hanging on, especially because I didn’t know how long the situation could last.
“I’ve had the gym for six years and built up a good reputation with lots of happy clients. I was hopefully they would return but shutting down completely for months on end has obviously had a massive impact on my business. In the early weeks of the lockdown it was a real relief to hear from my landlord, The Arch Company, that they could help out. I was able to secure a rent holiday at the end of March for a few months and I was very thankful for that.”
Harry was initially cautious about re-opening his business and how quickly his clients would return.
He said: “If my clients continue to work from home and don’t need to come back to the area for work, that’s a bit of a concern. But in the weeks since I’ve reopened, I’ve had quite a bit of interest from new clients, as many have found this period has had a negative effect on their physical and mental health and want to fix that quickly and safely. We offer bespoke personal training plans to help with fat loss, fitness and recovery from injury, so lots of our existing programmes are ideal for people looking to ease themselves back into training or trying to lose weight after lockdown.”