Funds for family-friendly fitness

Simon Gunn is hoping to set up a family friendly fitness centre using crowdfunding, pictured are Simon and partner Jacqueline Illingworth
Simon Gunn is hoping to set up a family friendly fitness centre using crowdfunding, pictured are Simon and partner Jacqueline Illingworth

A personal trainer from HUcknall has launched a crowdfunding campaign to create a family-friendly fitness facility with a difference.

Personal trainer Simon Gunn has set himself the ambitious target of raising £100,000 by April in order to turn his dream of ‘an affordable, awesome, welcoming fitness facility that no one is scared to enter’ into reality.

Simon, 37, of Wood Lane, Hucknall, and his fiancée Jacqueline Illingworth, 40, have been running popular outdoor boot camps on Wood Lane for the last three years - but now want to find a permanent base of operations for Jelly Fitness.

Simon, who started off as a personal trainer at Fitness First in Mansfield, said: “We try and create a fun atmosphere. We just try and encourage ordinary people to come and exercise in beautiful surroundings.

“I have been working with Nottingham Business Ventures who put me on to the crowdfunding idea.

“The crowdfunding will pay for premises and kit so we can start applying for Lottery and Sports England grants. 
“We would like to set up in Hucknall - that’s the number one target.”

When Simon was 18 he was violently mugged. Although the ordeal had a profound impact on his life, it also enabled him to discover the beneficial effects of exercise on mental wellbeing.

“It started a nasty downward spiral,” he said. “I started having epileptic seizures followed by depression. Over the space of ten years my life turned into a mess. My confidence went through the ground.

“I had a light bulb moment where I realised I was going to do something about it. I bought a little stepper and started exercising. My life started turning back around and I went back to work.

“I was badly skint at that time and it seemed a little bit odd that we couldn’t afford to go to the gym together.

“That’s where the idea of creating a family-centred exercise that everyone can access came from.”

His aim is to ensure that there are opportunities for children to exercise alongside the adults. There will be a crèche as well as activities that will appeal to older children.

Traditional equipment will be provided along with innovative and unique ways of exercising - some of which are closely guarded secrets!

Simon, now a successful personal trainer, gained two degrees from West Nottinghamshire College. Now, he says, it is time to try and tackle the UK’s inactivity levels on the big stage!

He said: “We will provide classes for those struggling with their body image and those who think “gyms” are for “skinny” people, and encourage support group-style coffee mornings for people to come along and discuss their fears and goals.”