Superfast broadband lifts the weight off rural gym

Co-owners Richard Stovell and Harriet Bain opened Lift UP Gym, a boutique gym in rural Blackminster, in August 2017. The business is based at Blackminster Business Park four miles outside of Evesham.

Blackminster Business Park went live for superfast fibre broadband in May 2017, two months before Lift UP Gym opened its doors. The business park is benefitting from faster broadband as a result of the Superfast Worcestershire Broadband Programme, which has made fibre broadband available to over 90% of the county’s businesses.

Richard and Harriet, from Rugby in Warwickshire and Pebworth in Worcestershire respectively, are passionate about healthy living. With a large proportion of Worcestershire’s population considered obese, Richard and Harriet established the business as the number of boutique gyms who cater for the things Lift UP offers are few and far between. The team at Lift UP offer rehabilitation protocols, social space, group glasses and personal training. The gym is ideal for those who feel uncomfortable in a large, commercial gym, and prides itself on personal service. Richard also specialises in diabetes and obesity.

Richard Stovell – Lift UP Gym says “When you’re a new start up business you don’t need the headache of slow internet speeds. Having superfast fibre broadband is a weight off our minds”

Richard and Harriet chose a fibre broadband package for the business straight away. Richard said: “Being connected to the community is essential when you’re based in a rural location. As a small boutique gym our focus is on retention and getting to know the local community, and all of our members on a personal level. This means as a business we’re able to give back to the community.

“Superfast broadband is vital for a small business that doesn’t have the budget or marketing power of bigger brands. Without the service, we’d struggle to succeed. We have an online booking system which our members use to book exercise classes – it’s essential and we couldn’t exist without it. We use Facebook to connect with the local community and receive a lot of enquiries through Facebook Messenger. With superfast broadband our processes are seamless – we can spend more time getting to know our members.

“With superfast speeds we can join a member online, which means as a team our time is managed effectively and we don’t have a paper trail. There is nothing worse than trying to run a business and being interrupted by poor Wi-Fi signal. One of the reasons we chose Blackminster Business Park for Lift UP Gym was Wi-Fi availability.

“We are able to offer an open Wi-Fi platform and the business connection handles a lot of volume. All of our members can use the Wi-Fi which can make the environment more stimulating. Our members can watch programmes on their devices whilst working out. If our members are working out whilst watching a soap, it’s exercise they wouldn’t normally have done. Whatever gets them moving – that’s important. Having faster broadband means we’re free to focus on the business.”

Photo: Harriet Bain and Richard Stovell with MP Nigel Huddleston