James Calderbank was concerned about the effect closing gyms would have people’s mental wellbeing and made a successful plea to local councils.
James is the owner of The Transform Hub in Fulwood, he was worried about what would happen to his clients if he was forced to close his gym down for a second time this year.
With the threat of tier-three restrictions looming, he took to social media to voice his concerns:
“Like many Lancashire gym owners, we are not just worried about the impact of the closure on our businesses, but it is our moral obligation to highlight the potentially devastating impact of poor mental health on Lancashire’s already stretched health and social services.
“I am seriously worried about the health of our county if we take away the one place where people are able to challenge their physical and mental health at a time when other amenities, connection to family and enforced disconnection is rife.”
On Friday 16th October it was announced that Lancashire would be moved into the Tier three restrictions but gyms were told that they could remain open.
James was ecstatic that people had finally been listened to:
“I really feel like the UK has been heard for once in this pandemic, It’s the first thing that we have actually had a say in and something has happened. The people have been listened to, everyone was pushing for it.
“It was just such an enlightening feeling, I was so happy that the clients could just come back to the gyms and our businesses don’t have to shut which was obviously a worry at the same time.
“When I found out, I ran into the gym and shouted ‘we’re not closing!’ and everyone cheered. Fitness can be a saviour for some people, the effect it has on their mental health, there is a community element of it as well, you get everything.”
The gym owner felt the need to step up and say something given the lack of evidence that gyms were a big factor in the rising number of cases:
“I thought I might get a bit of backlash from the pro-lockdowners, not that I don’t agree with the lockdown, I think things like gyms should have stayed open. When I was making that statement to the councils and the public, I fully believed everything I was saying, It felt so right and I couldn’t not say anything about it.
“If the cases were soaring through gyms, I’d completely understand, it would be hard but I’d shut my gym down if I had to. The biggest thing for me was that there was no evidence, the governments own data suggested there was no evidence that we were a hot spot.”