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Leisure guru Gary knows the value of health in the workplace




Gary Atyes, Abbeycroft Leisure
Gary Atyes, Abbeycroft Leisure

Abbeycroft Leisure has sites from Bury St Edmunds to Newmarket, Felixstowe to Cambridge and it keeps Gary Atyes on his toes.

Gary is commercial development manager at Abbeycroft and his biggest challenge in the coming years will be to get business to think differently about Abbeycroft.


Abbeycroft is overall sponsor of this year’s awards and hopes that business leaders and others across West Suffolk will start to appreciate the size, scope and scale of Abbeycroft as a business itself.


Total income for the last year was up by almost 2 per cent, membership income rose by more than 4 per cent while capital investments and spend on facilities totalled £1.2 million. That’s compared to just over £750,000 in the previous year.


Leisure is a huge business in the UK – and that’s echoed by Abbeycroft, which had saw turnover reach


£8.5 million for the year allied to more than 1.6 million visits by members of the public.


The success story continued across the core areas of gym and swim activities: gym memberships saw almost double-digit growth while class attendances were up by 7 per cent. Teen fitness memberships showed a huge leap of 76 per cent.


Swimming proved hugely popular with swim scheme members rising by 9 per cent and attendance at swimming lessons up by 5 per cent.


“We have sponsored this year’s Bury Free Press Business Awards to gain awareness,” said Gary.


“We are starting to revamp our corporate deals. In the past it was always about companies saying ‘We’ll get a gym membership cheaply’. We have spun that on its head now because a lot of companies are thinking about health and wellbeing, the mental wellbeing of their staff so we are saying if they work with us, we will put a package together that fits where you want to go rather than just membership deals.”


Gary says mindfulness workshops, posture pointers, possible use of services at The Self Centre could all help.


“Some businesses may have had absenteeism where people have been off sick and others with mental health issues, some people may be struggling on at work and then there are matters like diabetes.


“We can help to get people active again and working again not just by them coming in the gym.


“We can even go in somewhere and help them to organise a fun run or do something like we did for the Jockey Club recently in Newmarket where we went there and offered yoga to employees.”


“The leisure industry is changing – it can’t just be gym, swim and classes any more,” added Gary.


“Archery, volleyball, netball, rounders in the summertime are all things we can offer. We have a menu of things we can offer people rather than having a fixed idea. Each workforce is so different.”


“We also do team building – for us it’s taking the new Abbeycroft offer to a business marketplace.”


Gary, 59, a father of two, lives near Cambridge and is a Cambridge United fan. He used to work for the U’s before he took on the role with Abbeycroft. He loves cycling when he gets the time and still admits to going to the gym up to three times a week.


n The Bury Free Press Business Awards bring to a close the 2018 West Suffolk Business Festival, which is in its final planning stages. The awards will be handed out at a glitzy night at The Apex in October. Nominate businesses and individuals now for one of the 11 awards by heading to the website here: http://imlevents.co.uk/



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