REPs outlines stance on parks and exercise


In light of recent press coverage surrounding trainers using public parks, REPs outlines its stance on the issue.

When enforced responsibly and professionally, we are supportive of local parks and public spaces charging a fee for exercise professionals to use these spaces.

At REPs, our primary concern is to protect the public from rogue trainers. The maintenance of public parks will make for a better space, thus offering the public a better training environment. We appreciate the need to pay a fee in this circumstance, and are ensuring that parks and local councils make their plans clear and go about this in a professional manner.

To hear from members of aggressive behaviour being used as a deterrent is concerning, and REPs stresses the need for parks to carry out their duties in a responsible manner.

REPs encourages members to contact us if they feel these regulations are not being carried out as they should.

While we encourage our members to take advantage of these spaces, we do appreciate that, as with any business venture, there is a cost involved.

REPs is pleased that the issue of the significant difference between a 1:1 session and group exercise has been considered and as a result, pricing has been adjusted accordingly.

While many exercise professionals have acknowledged the need to charge for a group exercise session, a cause for concern has been those delivering 1:1 sessions, where the profit to be made is much lower. REPs is pleased that parks have also acknowledged this, and have created a price structure that is in tune with this.

We encourage members who use parks to pay these fees, just as we encourage parks and local councils to act professionally and appropriately in managing this.

We advise members to check the regulations of parks before use, and not consider this a deterrent, but to acknowledge that these fees will help protect and maintain these spaces, making them sustainable for ongoing use as a high quality exercise space.

REPs Compliance and Standards Manager Rob Wilkie will be available from 10:45 – 12:00 on Friday 28th February to discuss the issue with you across our Facebook and Twitter channels.

5 responses to “REPs outlines stance on parks and exercise

  1. 1) What about small group exercise? 2) How will parks charging protect against rogue trainers? 3) Are other businesses such as dog walking and childminding being charged for using public spaces which we already pay for? 4) you talk about “parks” as if they are all managed by the same company, which they are not. Is this some sort of countrywide pricing structure that is being enforced? 5) If they profit made from a group exercise class is less than a 1-1 do you get a discount 6) if the class/1-1 is cancelled do you get a refund? 7) I presume as this will be a business contract there will be terms and conditions such as the area used cleared of dog poo, glass and cigarette butts before the class takes place?

  2. Jon

    Yet again REPs dressing this up as if they’ve actually achieved something. Congratulations on handcuffing self-employed personal trainers by helping parks and open spaces to charge trainers to use them, making it even more difficult (if not impossible) to make a living away from the established gyms.
    It’s so satisfying to pay my yearly membership fee to you guys, for it to be used to do so little for members. I appreciate you want to eliminate ‘rogue’ trainers, but a free sign-up process would achieve this, rather than having to pay extortionate rates to use the parks. I wonder what financial incentives there are for REPs in this?
    So, my advice as a former PR professional, would be to consider these blogs and stories more carefully, because it borders on embarrassing that you promote these articles as a success stories, when I know around 90% of those using parks as self-employed trainers continue to be astounded at this development.
    Bravo on continuing to fail your membership base.

  3. Richard Barbour

    I disagree completely with public parks being charged fore use by PTs. What exactly do we all pay council tax/other taxes for. This will just add more costs where we are already being undercut/potentially put out of business by the cut price gym craze and similar.

  4. To Helen:
    01. Most councils now utilise a tiered pricing structure (through a Fitness Training Licence Process (FTLP)) with lower ratio outdoor providers paying less and higher ratio outdoor providers paying more.
    02. Councils protect against ‘rogue trainers’ by using a FTLP, no licence no park use.
    03. Dog walkers and childminders do not congregate in larger numbers (i.e. 10-100) like outdoor fitness providers do and potentially disrupt other park users through sheer weight of numbers.
    04. See point 04.
    05. See point 04.
    06. No, but different councils may utilise different contractual terms and conditions (T&Cs)
    07. Yes, but different councils may utilise different T&Cs.

    To Jon:
    01. Yes, to a degree, REPs does appear to be ‘dressing this up’ as a success. However, REPs do not receive any incentives from councils for the FTLP
    02. Personal Trainers, Outdoor Group Fitness companies and traditional Health Clubs (HCs) and Leisure Centres have been finding it difficult to compete in the market due to a number of reasons: the economic downturn and the entry to market of new, cheap competitor HCs which have adapted the market by offering more competitive products and services (i.e. more versatile and cheaper membership).

    To Richard:
    01. Park users pay through their council tax for the maintenance of the various parks and green spaces within a council’s local area. Outdoor fitness providers are specifically utilising these spaces for a financial gain, their members are technically paying twice (council tax and membership fees) for the use of the space.

    To REPs:
    01. I agree with Jon, it would be useful if REPs put forward a consistent ‘stance’ and on a more regular basis.
    02. It would have been appropriate if REPs had developed, or least had useful input, into the creation of a FTLP with councils and developed a national framework; as opposed to the fragmented system currently in place where councils charge vastly different fees for essentially the same product.

    Please view: for some information on the above. I gain no ‘commercial incentives’ for my site 🙂

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