CHANGE FOR THE BETTER
We are delighted to be welcoming you back to Fitness First.
As referenced in our last email, we want to use this communication to showcase exactly what’s happening on reopening. We hope it answers all of your questions.
We have been working hard behind the scenes so you can get back to enjoying the club facilities again.
So many of you have been in touch to tell us what you’ve missed, whether that’s spin, classes, weights, even a few votes for the assault bike!
Today, we will start the process to address all of the queries we know you want answering to resume your fitness journey at Fitness First in Northern Ireland.
THE FITNESS EXPERIENCE ON DAY 1
We know from your feedback the main questions surround what can I expect as we re-open the gyms in Northern Ireland. Clearly there will need to be some interim changes but what will this reopening phase look like?
Well, our fitness teams are working hard to ensure we retain all of the elements we know are key to our members, namely: -
• Convenient, flexible opening hours to support your needs; initially we will be opening 7am-8pm Mon to Fri and 8am-4pm Sat and Sun.
• A great spectrum of group exercise classes, available from Monday 13 July - with all of the classes we know you love. To support the new cleanliness standards and social distancing there will be a slightly reduced timetable to allow time for cleaning of equipment between classes as well as a capacity reduction in some classes. This is subject to approval from the Northern Ireland Executive and details will be made available on the Core App and on the club web pages.
• Our full range of state-of-the-art equipment where possible - again to support social distancing we may be forced to put some elements of kit out of use to support the necessary regulatory recommendations but we are confident this will not affect your fitness experience.
• Our fantastic team of personal trainers - sessions will be available immediately with your favourite trainers.
• A full weekly virtual class timetable – such has been the fantastic response to our on-demand digital classes, we will continue to support your training outside of the gym.
• Swimming pools –all of the necessary cleaning and hygiene work has been completed and we are ready for opening. As we get ready to press send on this email we are still awaiting confirmation from the Northern Ireland Executive, so pools may not open from Friday. This information will be made available as soon as we get confirmation.
• What will be missing for Day 1? As has been widely reported across the media, saunas, steam rooms and spas will be closed temporarily as per government guidelines.
What will you be doing first when you get back to the gym? Get in touch via our social channels to let us know if you’ll be pounding the treadmill, slamming sandbags or stretching out in a studio.
Whatever your active, we’re here to help you achieve your fitness goals.
REIMBURSEMENT OF THE FIRST 10 DAYS
Here's another reason to get back as soon as possible - there's no need to pay for the first 10 days of opening.
For those members who come back for our reopening, there's no need to pay for the 10 days following the 10th July.
• It feels a long time ago now but because we closed our sites midway through March (closed 20/03/2020), we’re making up for it by giving you the first 10 days for free when we reopen.
• For those members who paid up front, we will extend your memberships by the period of time that we have been closed for (112 days).
• We're so grateful to all our members for your loyalty throughout the closure period and we really appreciate you supporting your community gym operator and teams.
I'M READY TO COME BACK
What do I need to do now?
We will handle it all for you. In the same way we automatically provided a free freeze of all memberships at the start of this lockdown, we will take all of the hassle away to get you back in the gym.
• For those customers who want to come back, we will automatically unfreeze your accounts.
• As we stated, you don’t need to pay for the first days back in July and we will take a one off direct debit for the residual days in July on 20 July – for the period 20 – 31 July
• Going forward, linked to our all-new flexible membership model, we have adjusted our direct debit dates to the last day of the previous month – so your August payment will be taken on 31 July and subsequent payments on the last day of each month.
CAN I REMAIN ON FREEZE?
I am not ready to come back yet - can I remain on freeze?
The answer is yes and we have introduced a brand new ‘MY MEMBERSHIP’ functionality on to the website to allow our direct debit customers to manage this process on-line.
• If your circumstances mean you can’t return to the gym or you don’t feel comfortable doing so, you can ensure your membership will remain frozen for the time being.
• The process to initiate a freeze on your account is normally £5 but we do appreciate that there may be some mitigating circumstances, and as such, for July and August, we are offering FREE freezes in certain instances – see online for details.
• Your Fitness First membership will be much easier to manage going forward. No need for a call or email, just go to the members’ section of our website. If you’re having problems, just request a password reset.
• This functionality is totally new and will be live from Thursday 9 July. On the website, there will be full detail of how to action this continuing of your freeze status. Click below access the MY MEMBERSHIP area and set up your account.
• Please note members have until 16 July to activate this freeze request to ensure they do not pay for July.
GETTING IN TOUCH DURING CLOSURE
I have tried to contact your call centre during lockdown but no answer.
We are sorry. As we are sure you appreciate in these unprecedented times it has been necessary to employ only a minimal staffing level until we properly open the business.
This particularly applies to our customer service team who we are looking to get back into the business aligned to the opening date of the gyms across the UK.
• If you have contacted us during the course of the lockdown, apologies for the lack of response during these extremely difficult times, it was simply unavoidable for us as a business.
• Cancelling my membership - For some people, we know your circumstances may have changed and you have looked to cancel during lockdown. The new My Membership section will have easy to follow step-by-step procedures on how to cancel your membership, all facilitated by this new self-service membership portal.
• As well as improving our self-service customer service proposition we have also been working with our members to understand what it is they find confusing about the gym industry and what would they like changed about membership policies.
• We look forward to sharing with you over the coming weeks and months some of the new steps we are going to be putting in place to drive a real customer-first approach to everything we do.
Our objective is to apply the principle of ‘Creating a change for the better’ to every ethos of our business.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
We have received great feedback around the FAQs area of our website that we introduced as we went into lockdown and it is our intention to offer the same as we open up again.
Head to our website for a full run-down of frequently asked questions, which we hope will answer any questions you have about reopening and your membership, of which we will continue to update.
Our final advice to create a seamless and contactless entrance into our clubs is to ensure everyone downloads the Core app on your phone.
Not only does this provide you with contactless entry but it also has lots of great features to improve your fitness journey. And it also allows us to comply with government track and trace guidelines.
The wait is almost over – we know it has been difficult for everyone but we are doing everything we can to ensure we provide the best possible fitness experience in these unprecedented times.
Thank you so much for your understanding during the closure period. The team can’t wait to see you back in the club.
TOGETHER WE CAN DO THIS
CHANGE FOR THE BETTER
See you soon!
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