The Gym Group measures social value impact 16 March 2021

The Gym Group, nationwide operator of 186 affordable gyms, has undertaken analysis of its social impact which has revealed it generated £1.8bn in social value since 2016.

Research by Sheffield Hallam University found that using the gym reduces the likelihood of developing diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, cancer and depression, and also increases life satisfaction, improves educational attainment and reduces the rate of crime among young men.

The impact of physical activity stretches way beyond improving fitness levels; it delivers social value by increasing educational attainment and wellbeing whilst also reducing crime and the risk of illnesses.

The Gym Group is the first private-sector company to commission an analysis of the social value created by its business which will be published as part of its 2020 Annual Report this week.

The methodology, initially commissioned by Sport England and the Government, uses a 'Social Value Calculator' developed by 4global in partnership with Sheffield Hallam University and socio-economic data provider Experian. The outputs of the model are split into four core categories: health, subjective wellbeing, education and crime and are driven by the number of people exercising, frequency of activity, demographics and socio-economic factors.

The analysis found that The Gym Group created £1.8bn in social value over the five years since 2016, demonstrating the valuable role the company plays in improving the prospects for local communities. Pre-pandemic, it generated £490 in social value per member per year equivalent to an average of £3m per site. The social value generated by each site grew each year driven by increased member usage, until lockdowns reduced overall member visits in 2020.

Sustainability is a core element of The Gym Group's strategy. Almost half (49%) of the UK population live under 15 minutes drive from its gyms and it is committed to making fitness accessible for all. 32% of The Gym Group's estate is in the 20% most deprived areas of the UK where the risk of inactivity is highest, and the social value it can generate will be one of the key criteria for any new gym opening going forward.

Richard Darwin, Chief Executive of The Gym Group, commented:

"Sustainability is in our DNA and the creation of £1.8bn of social value in the last 5 years, is an important part of our purpose as a business. We have been breaking down barriers to health and fitness since we opened our first gym in Hounslow in 2008 and are excited that every new opening adds social value of £3m per year, to local communities.

These findings emphasise just how important physical activity is - not only for mental wellbeing and physical health, but also in the economic and social benefit it brings to the communities in which we operate. With the pandemic shining a light on the risks of obesity and the importance of regular exercise, it is now more crucial than ever to offer the nation access to inclusive, affordable gyms. We are proud to make a difference - and we are looking forward to continuing to play a part in keeping our nation active."

Dr Caroline Dalton, Associate Professor of Neuroscience and Genetics and Theme Lead for Living Well with Chronic Disease, AWRC Sheffield Hallam University said:

"We are delighted The Gym Group has adopted the Social Value Calculator. The Calculator is based on 5 years of research by Dr Larissa Davies and colleagues from Sheffield Hallam University, and is a measurement of the individual and societal benefits resulting from physical activity and the value it creates for the community"

For further information, please contact:

Tulchan Communications
Elizabeth Snow, Louise Male, Laura Marshall