The story of VVV…….
I am often asked how VVV Health & Leisure Club first came about. Are we part of a chain? Are there other VVV Gyms anywhere else in the country? Well, I felt it was about time that I gave you the background behind the creation of the best health & leisure facility in the Lancaster & Morecambe area and beyond…..!
In the summer of 1995, after spending 8 years in various managerial positions with Safeway supermarket chain, I had the opportunity of taking redundancy due to company restructuring. I had hated all but a few months of my time there, which had slowly eroded both my confidence and my self-esteem.
I decided to take some time to think about what path I was to take next, but I also wanted to spend some time doing the things that I enjoyed but had never had the time to do before, namely sport and exercise.
I was really keen to join a gym, but thought ‘I cannot go to a gym looking like this’, so instead bought myself some dumbbells from Argos and started working out at home. At that point I thought there was no way I was ever going to feel comfortable enough to walk into a gym!
However, after a few weeks of training I started to feel much more positively about myself and my self-confidence levels began to rise. It felt strange that after so many years of thinking “I can’t do this” I now began to feel a definite “can do” attitude about myself. I soon felt confident enough to start looking around for a suitable gym that I was happy to join. I started going to the local sports centre. It was extremely small and ill equipped but was fine for what I needed at that time.
It was at this point that I realised that exercise was actually playing a huge role in my ability to think more clearly and more positively. It was helping me to take a greater amount of control over my own life rather than feeling as though I was drifting from one bad day to another. I think it was those beliefs that started to give rise to VVV and how exercise was literally starting to ‘Change my life’. I also started to consider how amazing it would be to be able to do that on a larger scale helping many more people.
Within a few months I felt I needed to move to a bigger gym facility. The options were either a £50 a month lycra-clad health club or a “spit and sawdust” body builders gym. There was very little else around so it was at this point that I started to feel there was a gap in the market for good quality facilities aimed at those people who wouldn’t normally see themselves as gym goers but were still extremely conscious of the need to be healthy.
By May 1997 coupled with the considerable backing of my family, Teal Bay Leisure was purchased and we set about renovating the existing club. Finally, on 27th October 1997, VVV Health and Leisure Club opened its doors for the first time with a grand total of 250 members.
Over the past 13 years the Club has grown in size from 12,000sq ft to 20,000sq ft, our membership has grown to over 3,000 members and we have won numerous awards including the prestigious ‘Club of the Year Award’ in 2005. We have had over 850 patients referred to us by local Doctors and Physiotherapists and continue to provide quality exercise programmes for members referred to us following debilitating strokes, heart attacks and other conditions and illnesses. We have a good relationship with the local health services and strong ties with our local MS Society, Breathe Easy group (part of the British Lung Foundation) and we run chair-based exercise classes, which are also available to non-members to come along and join.
VVV’s focus is and has always been about the people rather than the facilities however we have a strong reputation for providing excellent facilities with highly qualified instructors in a relaxed, fun and non-intimidating environment.
Of course, my view of what VVV should offer has evolved over the years but I have always wanted VVV to be about offering as much choice as possible to ensure that our members gain the maximum value for money. Whether it’s the range of training methods and equipment, membership packages or the choice from over 120 group-training classes on offer every week. VVV is about always trying to provide you with the best value for your money.
I hope that in telling my story, there will be many people that read this that can also identify with at least some elements of it. We are not like other facilities nor do we wish to imitate them. VVV is unique and we do our best to meet our members’ aspirations. We are by far the best at what we do and that is also due to having the members that support us.
As for VVV’s direction for the future well of course we want to continue providing the best facilities we can for all our members. We are constantly looking at how we can improve what we already offer and 2011 is no exception to this.
With instructors already qualified in Cardiac Rehab, Ante & Post natal exercise, and GP Referral exercise and now offering Personal Training since introducing Richard Mason and Rick Lowe to the club, we are now ready to add a number of other specialisms to our repertoire. Areas the Instructors have been working hard to achieve during 2010.
New areas of expertise that will be available for 2011 will include:• Back-Care Rehab
• Pilates Specialist for Neck, shoulder and knee rehab
• Diabetes Exercise specialist
• Neuro-Physiotherapy in conjunction with many local societies including MS Society, The Stroke Association etc.
• Falls Prevention Sessions
With all we can offer, VVV is most definitely looking to a very strong future! Sometimes the best ideas come out of life’s worst experiences and 13 years later, VVV is certainly a fine example of this!
The Shore • Hest Bank
Lancaster • LA2 6EQ
t • 01524 823363 w • www.myvvv.co.uk