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‘It’s acted as a lifeline’ - New gym set up by brothers

PUBLISHED: 15:26 25 October 2020 | UPDATED: 15:26 25 October 2020

The gym has been open since September. PHOTO: Ella Wilkinson

The gym has been open since September. PHOTO: Ella Wilkinson

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A man has described how setting up a gym with his brother in a Suffolk town has been like a ‘lifeline.’

Derek Swift (right) and Ian Swift (left) have set up Swiftfitness gym in Bungay together. PHOTO: Ella WilkinsonDerek Swift (right) and Ian Swift (left) have set up Swiftfitness gym in Bungay together. PHOTO: Ella Wilkinson

Derek Swift, 55, set up Swiftfitness in Bungay, Suffolk with his brother Ian Swift, 51, two days before lockdown back in March.

Like all other businesses during lockdown they were forced to close and only opened up again on September 7.

Since then, the gym has been going from strength to strength and has seen a steady flow of people using it.

Mr Swift has a background in construction, used to live in Wellingborough, Northamptonshire and worked in London.

Ian used to own a gym and Derek has a background in construction. PHOTO: Ella WilkinsonIan used to own a gym and Derek has a background in construction. PHOTO: Ella Wilkinson

He became tired of working in the big smoke and jumped at the opportunity to set up a new gym with his brother Ian, who has lived in Bungay for 20 years and used to own a small gym at Bungay FC.

They found the current site at Earsham Mill Estate Business Park last year and Mr Swift used his construction skills to build the complex.

In many ways the lockdown as a blessing in disguise for Mr Swift. He said: “Because we had never been open during normal times, adjusting to the new covid mesaures didn’t come as a shock.

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“If anything, it gave us time to prepare during lockdown.”

The brothers have been running classes, clubs and focussing on attracting families to the gym.

Since opening, word of mouth around Bungay has encouraged more people to use the gym.

The gym is community focussed with great PTs and also a mental health support worker on site.

Gyms have acted as a safe space for many people during the pandemic. PHOTO: Ella WilkinsonGyms have acted as a safe space for many people during the pandemic. PHOTO: Ella Wilkinson

Mr Swift indicated that gyms have acted as a safe haven for many people during the pandemic and urged the government to continue letting them operate.

He added: “We’ve had people come into our gym who have never stepped foot in one before.

“Gyms are clean environments, everything is spaced out and there is yet to be any positive coronavirus cases from gyms.

“So many people have told me that gyms are their sanctuary because it just allows them to escape for a little while away from these unprecedented times.

“You don’t have to wear a mask in gyms and I think it just helps people forget there is a global pandemic going on just for a little while.”


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