Response from Hammersmith and Fulham Council

The article about Hammersmith and Fulham Council introducing charges for PTs using its parks and open spaces generated a heated debate with REPs members airing their views.

In response a council representative tells their side of the story:

“It’s possible to ascertain from the leading personal trainer registers that the number of personal trainers operating in Hammersmith and Fulham is well over 300. The increasing numbers operating from the parks has been observed and feedback from parks users, friends groups, park based council employees, grounds maintenance contractors, casual park users, sports team bookers and registered personal trainers.

“All personal trainers training clients in Hammersmith and Fulham parks on a 1:1 or 1:2 basis are charged an annual fee of £350. This enables the personal trainer to use all LBHF parks and open spaces. Payment is currently a one-off annual payment.

“All ‘Bootcamps’ or group sessions are charged an annual rate of £1,200. This agreement has been in place for a number of years and generally the response from Bootcamps is extremely supportive, understanding the need to remove the ‘cowboy’ operators:
It is good to see that you are taking a proactive approach to regulating and controlling fitness trainers and groups and then also promoting the various options to the residents of Hammersmith and Fulham via your website. British Military Fitness have always been proactive in terms of approaching councils and getting the required permissions and paying the required fees in order to be allowed to train – Simon Richman London Area Manager, British Military Fitness

“Any free classes still require a license to ensure that appropriate qualifications and Insurance is held but no fee is required. The license fee was calculated through a number of based benchmarking activities of similar service/license agreements. Tennis Coaches for example pay £960 per year and Bootcamps £1200 per year. Further research reinforces that most gyms in Hammersmith and Fulham that allow freelance PT’s charge monthly rental of anywhere between £300 – £1200 per month in contrast to the £350 annual fee offered. In order to effectively monitor such a scheme involves the Parks Constabulary to ensure its administered at park level. Sports Admin resources are required to effectively administer and organise paper work, renewals and office based roll-out. There’s a cost attached to processing through our Finance department. Finally and perhaps most importantly is our Parks & Gardens team, with a view to the grounds maintenance work and reinstatement that’s involved in the usage and wear and tear created by PT’s. This is obviously particularly important with larger Boot Camp sessions involving 10+ participants. Thus ensuring we can safeguard the future of Hammersmith and Fulham limited yet enviable parks and open spaces.

“I understand that in your opinion the fee is too high, however benchmarking was carried out and the fees and charges were agreed by the Cabinet at Hammersmith and Fulham Council on February 9th 2011. The fees and charges are reviewed on a 6 monthly basis and rest assured that many trainers believe that a charge of less than £30 per month offers good value for money. Particularly is most trainers in Hammersmith & Fulham charge £30 per hour minimum.

“All registered PT’s/ Bootcamps will also be included in the LBHF PT/Bootcamp directory enabling residents to locate approved licensed trainers in their area.

“Under the current Byelaws: Trading. 27. No person shall in the ground, without the consent of the Council, sell or offer or expose for sale, or let to hire, or offer or expose for letting to hire, any commodity or article or provide or offer to provide any service for which a charge is made. To date no individuals or organisations have be asked to leave or been removed from any of the parks or open spaces.

“Currently the only objections to the scheme are coming from trainers operating on a 1:1 basis. The main argument being that the parks are public space and ‘free’. Obviously this is the case to those using the parks for casual play or recreation, however those wishing to participate in an organised/commercial/profitable activity must seek permissions and the appropriate licensing from LBHF. The scheme is not new, although in the last 12 months a more pro-active approach has been taken to ensure its rolled out consistently.

“Ultimately those wishing to participate in an organised, commercial/profitable activity must seek permissions and the appropriate licensing from LBHF. It certainly safeguards reputable, qualified, insured PT’s and removes the cowboys operating substandard sessions. As I’m sure you understand we must have procedure in place to balance commercial activity in the parks. Simply to allow anyone to run a business from the parks does not safeguard the users or the parks future.

“Recently there has obviously been some media coverage regarding the License. H&F Conservative councillor Greg Smith, cabinet member for residents’ services, defended the fee, saying: “Taxpayers do not expect businesses who are trying to make money out of our parks to get a free ride on the back of their taxes and these businesses do need to pay for the necessary licence”. The motive behind the license is certainly not to discourage resident and the public from physical activity however private companies and individuals exploiting public resources for private gain without paying anything back is certainly not ideal.”

Update on park charges for PTs

The article about Hammersmith and Fulham Council introducing charges for PTs using its parks and open spaces generated a heated debate with REPs members airing their views.

In response a council representative tells their side of the story…. read more >

Posted by in ezine

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How satisfied are you with your job?

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Don’t forget that the 2011 Working in Fitness Survey is still live and we encourage you to complete the survey if you haven’t already done so.  The survey will run until the beginning of August and can be completed by clicking here:

Your contribution is really important so that we get a good and true picture of jobs in the industry. You can be assured that the survey will be totally confidential, and will be analysed anonymously with the results being reported at regional and occupational levels only. No one will be able to identify individual answers.

To have a chance of winning £250 towards a training course to aid continued professional development just fill in your e-mail address at the end of the survey to be entered in the prize draw.

Looking for the latest teaching and learning materials?

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Need resources to help you achieve your goals, such as studying for a qualification, updating your skills or enhancing your business performance? Then the SkillsActive Group’s new online shop is here to help you – whether you are a teacher, a student or developing your business.

We stock only relevant and authoritative materials by authors with expertise in the fields of sport, fitness, the outdoors, playwork and the caravan industry from well-established publishers. Anything you spend with us is reinvested straight back into developing training and education in your industry.

Ordering is easy. Simply go to and follow the onscreen instructions.

Exercise “cuts stroke risk”

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New research has claimed that exercise may significantly reduce the risk of strokes in older people. Experts found that 64-year-olds who take part in moderate-to-intense exercise on a regular basis have a lower chance of experiencing a vascular event than those who do not exercise.

Documented in the journal Neurology, the study suggested that older people may benefit from activities such as swimming, jogging or playing squash. Minor brain injuries cause ‘silent’ strokes, which in turn can lead to a disabling or lethal stroke. The study concluded that older people who get involved in physical activity are 40% less likely to suffer a silent stroke.

Some 1,238 men and women participated in the research. They provided information about their levels of exercise at the beginning of the study. Six years later, at an average age of 70, they underwent magnetic resonance imaging brain scans to find any signs of silent strokes.

A total of 43% participants reported that they took no regular exercise. A further 36% engaged in light activity, such as golf, walking, bowling or dancing, while 21% enjoyed moderate or intense pursuits including hiking, tennis, swimming, biking and squash.

The brain scans showed that 16% of all those recruited for the study had silent stroke lesions. But the moderate to intense group was 40% less likely to have had a small stroke than people who did only light amounts of exercise or none at all.’cuts_stroke_risk’

Are your skills up-to-date?

£10 only for 5 days

New on-line up-skilling units designed to bring REPs members in line with current entry standards are available exclusively to members. The five, free modules will allow current level 2/3 members to adapt their mainstream classes/sessions for occasional clients who fall into one, or more, of the following categories:

  • Older adults
  • Ante and post-natal women
  • 14-16 year old teenagers
  • Disabled people
  • Children and vulnerable adults.

Each module will earn REPs members 1 CPD point and can be accessed via the members’ area of the REPs website –

REPs Registrar Jean-Ann Marnoch explains: “During the consultation period for the new National Occupational Standards it became clear that many people who fall into the categories above were regular exercisers and often took part in group classes and regular sessions. The new REPs structure reflects that, and requires level 2/3 members to have the necessary skills to adapt routines or certain exercises for such clients. These up-skilling units will provide this necessary expertise. It’s important to remember though that these units do not qualify a member to take a class specifically for those with specialist needs. That requires the more in-depth qualification leading to a specific category on the Register.”

For further information visit:

Study compares health benefits of yoga and exercise

Research being presented at the 58th Annual Meeting of the American College of Sports Medicine and 2nd World Congress on Exercise is Medicine® looks at how long-time practitioners of yoga compare to habitual exercisers.

A research team led by Brittanie DeChino, a graduate student and instructor at The George Washington University in the School of Public Health and Health Services, surveyed 163 participants recruited from yoga studios and fitness clubs in the Washington, D.C. area.

“We surveyed the participants on psychological well-being, as measured by anxiety, depression, coping, mindfulness, perceived stress and general health symptoms,” said DeChino. “Interestingly, the two groups – yoga practitioners and habitual exercisers – were similar with regard to self-reported symptoms of anxiety and depression. However, the yoga practitioners reported lower prevalence of joint pain and headaches than those who engaged in cardiovascular exercise and weight training. They also had higher scores for mindfulness and coping skills, and lower scores for perceived stress, compared with the exercise group.”

The 132 female and 31 male participants were primarily Caucasian (88 percent) and of higher educational attainment, ranging from 18 to 65 years of age. According to DeChino, the enduring and specific benefits of yoga to mindfulness and consequent stress reduction should be emphasized in community-based health promotion strategies.


Modern life leaves British children weaker

Ten-year-olds are physically weaker than their counterparts were a decade ago according to a new report by researchers at Essex University.

“This is probably due to changes in activity patterns among English 10-year-olds, such as taking part in fewer activities like rope-climbing in PE and tree-climbing for fun. Typically, these activities boosted children’s strength, making them able to lift and hold their own body weight.” said Dr Gavin Sandercock, the lead author at Essex University.

Dr Sandercock, a fitness expert, and his team studied how strong a group of 315 Essex 10-year-olds in 2008 were compared with 309 children the same age in 1998. They found that even though children had the same height to weight ratio, they were becoming weaker, less muscular and unable to do physical tasks that previous generations found simple, research has revealed. In particular, the number of sit-ups 10-year-olds can do declined by 27.1 per cent between 1998 and 2008, arm strength fell by 26 per cent and grip strength by seven per cent and twice as many children (one in 10) could not hold their own weight when hanging from wall bars.

Dr Sandercock said some of the findings were “really shocking”.

To read more visit:

2011 State of the Industry Report shows strong stance

The UK health and fitness industry has maintained a total market value of £3.81 billion, its first flat annual performance in ten years, concludes the 2011 FIA State of the UK Fitness Industry report. Since the start of the recession, in 2008, the fitness industry has grown its total market value by 4%, increased the member base by 2% whilst increasing the number of fitness facilities by a further 1.7%.

The 2011 reports indicates that the industry has experienced a small but not unexpected dip in membership levels of 0.3% and a small net loss of fitness facilities from 5,885 to 5,852, according to independent leisure market analysts, The Leisure Database Company, who compile the report on behalf of the industry’s trade body the FIA.

Growth in the industry has been driven by a good performance from public fitness operators. The public sector saw growth across three key performance indicators: increasing sites open by 20, a growth in membership numbers of 2% and an impressive growth in market value of 5.8%.  Low cost operators have also contributed to this.

Summary of Key Facts

  • Total Market Value (public and private sectors combined) is estimated at £3.81 billion, sustained from 2010 and up 4% since 2008.
  • 11.9 per cent of the UK population are now registered as members of a health and fitness club or publicly-owned fitness facility.
  • Total industry membership base has seen a slight decline (0.3%) to 7.3 million over the past 12 months; however this is a 2% increase since 2008.
  • 149 new public and private fitness facilities opened in the 12 month period ending 31st March 2010, up from 122 in 2010 and 114 openings in 2009.
  • 125 public and private fitness facilities closed in the reported period.
  • There are now 5,852 fitness facilities in the UK; down from 5,885 in 2010 and up 1.7% since 2008.
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