Gym with childcare - competition finalist HELP!!!

(31 Posts)
buddhasbelly Tue 10-Nov-15 09:06:42

Hi all,

Following my daughter's birth last year I suffered from severe PND - I wasn't working at the time and was very isolated. I was prescribed anti Ds but took a reaction to them and had a seizure. It was a pretty dark time in my life and posted on here a lot at the time as there was a lot else going on.

Aaanyway...I took to going to the gym to try and help my mood as any medication was then out of the question.

Fast forward a year and I am now working in the field that I graduated in (business development) in a FE/HE institution.

Every year this institution runs a business idea competition and I submitted an idea of a gym with childcare facilities. I know it's not exactly inventing fire nor a new concept but we have nothing similiar in our area or surrounding areas, though on speaking with one baby group I feel the demand is there.

I have to do a presentation in a week's time (turnaround time of thewhole thing has been v short) and so I wondered if I could ask you Mners a few questions on the concept.

Do you use or would you want to use a gym with childcare facilities?

I am proposing a high intensity 30 min workout to minimise additional childcare costs to users - is this something you would be interested in?

I am proposing (on speaking with GP friend who is a specialist in PND) offering our service to local medical practices so that GPs can make NHS referrals to a personal trainer I would have on site. NHS guidelines currently state that this is something GPs are now doing - is this something you would feel beneficial to the concept as a whole?

I wont ask about prices as these vary wildly throughout the country but any feedback you could give on the concept would be greatly appreciated!

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buddhasbelly Tue 10-Nov-15 09:12:13

sorry I may add I got shortlisted down from 120 entries to 16 so am now slightly bricking it!

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VivaHate Wed 11-Nov-15 14:30:34

That is an amazing idea and something I have actually thought about doing myself. I think that GPs "prescribing" exercise is a fantastic concept but so under utilised. You could maybe look at offering group "speed yoga" classes as well? The very best of luck to you!

buddhasbelly Wed 11-Nov-15 19:55:24

My sincerest thanks VivaHate flowers

I'm so nervous but so passionate to take this idea forward. If any other Mners have some feedback i'd be so incredibly grateful smile

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Noeuf Wed 11-Nov-15 19:59:33

How would you fund it? Would it be the ccg buying a block and GPS prescribing it? And then additional Joe public types as well? Is childcare extra or on top? Would you be bothered to drag yourself, kid, nappies etc to the gym for only 30 minutes?
If the only prescribed stuff is for pnd, is there likely to be any reluctance from other people in going?

Whoami24601 Wed 11-Nov-15 20:28:30

Would the crèche be open to older siblings or just babies? I used to run before we had children, but DH and I now work opposite hours to fit around childcare. Which means when I'm home he's at work and vice versa. A gym with somewhere to leave the kids would be perfect. I think 30 min workouts are a good idea- no child wants to be left for long especially if you're going in the evening. And if it's only a short session it might help avoid some of the 'mummy guilt'. Would the crèche be open for people just dropping in to the gym? How would that work re numbers? What if I show up ready for a workout but the crèche is already full?

buddhasbelly Wed 11-Nov-15 20:32:59

Thanks for the questions Noeuf

Sorry I should have stated that we are in Scotland and do not work with ccg groups here - I have spoken with a chief GP in PND in this area who would look to secure funding to bring this forward.

Childcare could either be built into a membership price or done as an additional charge for non members.

Good point re timing - the circuit of 30 mins could be adapted to a 1hr session with a 15 min window built in either side to incorporate getting child settled, warm up/cool down. This would be dependent on what consumers demand (hence i'm extremley grateful for any feedback given).

Due to the current fitness facilities in our area being v highly priced, there would be the demand (from speaking with other mums at toddler groups) for a value added service of not nedding to sort their childcare in order to exercise.

Seriously, thanks for the feedback it is great to get unbiased input.

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buddhasbelly Wed 11-Nov-15 20:40:16

Many thanks Whoami

I have looked at expanding the opening hours for older children who would still be up at eg 7pm - as it would be registered as childminding as opposed to nursery care work the capacity for numbers would be in line with childminding regulations. Perhaps it could be a 1 hour session for younger children in the day time (as per neouf's suggestion) and 30 mins as per whoami's suggestion for older children in the evening?

I would be looking at using a booking system that corresponds with facebook, so either you prebook or can check via the facebook page (if you decide to go last minute) if there are any spots available so that you dont turn up only to get turned away.

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TheHelpfulHiker Wed 11-Nov-15 20:53:42

I'm a member of my local Virgin Active gym and they have a creche where I can leave DS (10 months). It's been an absolute godsend while I've been on maternity leave. I was so keen to get back into exercise but it was difficult to arrange childcare, especially when he was tiny. I generally leave him for an hour at a time (by the time I've dropped him off, put my stuff in locker and got changed afterwards leaves about 45 mins exercise). I would like to do classes but worry that it would be a bit tight time wise. If the classes are arranged to fit in around childcare that would be perfect and definitely something that I would be interested in. Sounds like a fab idea, good luck with it all!

buddhasbelly Wed 11-Nov-15 21:08:35

thank you Hiker - the input i've had from here has been invaluable - we currently have no services that would cater to this market although when I looked at national providers Virgin Active was the one that would come up.

1hr classes is something I am now definitely going to build in to the presentation as it seems like this is something people would want.

Thank you again, anyone else who wants to give their input I would be more than grateful, doing this presentation (the majority of my work involves writing not presenting) feels like pushing forward past the PND and making what could be a viable business smile

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buddhasbelly Wed 11-Nov-15 21:09:41

I've also just read back through what i've written and thought "who is this person with ambition?" - in comparison to just over a year ago what a change in me grin

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Sunflower1985 Wed 11-Nov-15 21:14:27

I used to work at a crèche at a gym. It was for under 4s and quite limited hours. Any additional flexibility would be good. We also did a 2 hour drop and shop. People just called to book in and paid at the desk.

Twinkie1 Wed 11-Nov-15 21:27:01

DD has been going in our local gym creche since she was 8 weeks.

Staff are v v important as continuity is a huge issue for most childcare providers. You'll have to think v v carefully about ratios as its more with under 2s than overs.

It's nice to be able to leave them for longer to have a coffee too or do a couple of classes back to back and then shower. When DD was tiny I used creche for a break some days just to have a peaceful hour and read the paper.

Personally I'd hate the idea of having to rush around and would want at least 60-90 minute slots.

Our creche will feed kids either food from cafe or a packed lunch if in there at lunchtime.

goodbyeyellowbrickroad Wed 11-Nov-15 21:27:27

I used this type of set up overseas. As part of my gym membership I got 2 hours for my child in the crèche. They took children from a few months old up to 12 years old and were divided into different age groups. From the age of 3 and a half they had organised activities that they could participate in like a 30 minute dance session. The crèche was open from 9 til 2pm then again from 4 til 8.30pm during the week and 8 til 1pm at the weekends. It was an absolute lifesaver for me as a SAHM!

I tended to do a class for an hour and left my DC in the crèche for around 1.5 hours. The extra half an hour was soon eaten up by getting equipment set up for the class, popping to the loo, having a quick natter with friends and cooling down.

Great idea and I think it will also help set a great example to kids that it's important for all of us to get regular exercise for our physical and mental well being.

Twinkie1 Wed 11-Nov-15 21:35:05

Ours is run by the Club Company if you want to look at their model.

Noeuf Wed 11-Nov-15 21:46:11

Hello Buddha,

I wanted to wish you luck as well and what nice responses to all our questions!

buddhasbelly Wed 11-Nov-15 21:48:25

Thanks all so much - I'm therefore going to look at doin longer sessions. The location I have theoretically looked at is next to a retail so it could also act as a "drop and shop".

I have built in to staffing costs/time mgmt the child to carer ratio so that care quality standards are maintained.

I will be one of the registered childcare minders and have sought others that could bring continuity to a member as I appreciate high turnover of staff would not be an environment I would want to put my child in to.

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buddhasbelly Wed 11-Nov-15 21:54:37

oh and thank you all again! thank you twinkie and noeuf - your response was what I wanted - any questions are great as sometimes you can't see the other things to think about if your so enthusiastic about your own idea

flowers as thanks to all PPs comments so far, thank you! (Me? Buddha? Presenting for a comp? I need to let you all know how I get now dont I? grin

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nilbyname Wed 11-Nov-15 22:12:18

I would bite the arm off my gym if they offered this! So useful!

Could you have like a chill/sofa room for tweets where they could charge phones, maybe have access to a wii/play station?

I would want to make sure you had good core staff- but in terms of upping care levels could you have college child care students come in on work experience?

You could offer some small beauty treatments in a separate room to a Self employed beautician as a bolt on?

Congratulations and well done!

Benzalkonium Wed 11-Nov-15 22:37:36

You are fantastic!

I would try to ensure that your system does not rely on Facebook though, some people don't use it thAt much and it would exclude them.

I can get gym sessions half price with a medical referral here, but that doesn't help with the cost or creche or of travel as only the town centre gym has a creche. So it's unaffordable for me to do it regularly,
And I think the ability to do it regularly is important.
Good luck.

SocksRock Wed 11-Nov-15 22:52:01

Our gym has a crèche, all of mine have been there. If you are a member you get one 2 hour session free per week included with your membership (per member, so two sessions if you have a joint membership). They run instructor led circuits classes in the gym at the same time as the crèche sessions (for free) so you can ease back into exercise with an instructor. They are really, really popular.

There is a swimming pool there as well, and the crèche will change your child into swimming stuff and bring them to the pool for you so you can do an hours swim on your own and then half an hour with your child without either having to get changed twice or dripping your way through the leisure centre to collect.

If you get this right, I'm sure it will be amazing.

The only thing ours lacks is a cafe. There are a couple of coffee machines, but it's not a hugely inviting space.

buddhasbelly Thu 12-Nov-15 07:19:12

nilbyname benzal and socks all really useful feedback thank you! - the location i have sourced is on good public transport links and within walking distance (approx 10 mins) of many residential areas.

I haven't included a cafe in the plan because 1) I want to focus on the core service and 2) it's next door to a brewers fayre that serves coffee with refills and has a small soft play - i thought having these services next door with minimal outgoing (less than £1.50 for continuous coffee) would allow a user to have a longer or shorter outing depending on the time they had.

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buddhasbelly Thu 12-Nov-15 08:37:20

sorry I'm bumping again for morning traffic - didn't want to post out with startups but if anyone else has any responses I would be so grateful! - Buddha trying to win a business comp, aargh!

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Procrastinatingpeacock Thu 12-Nov-15 08:58:10

I use my local gym and creche and agree that 30mins is not long enough - by the time you have dropped off, put bag in locker and warmed up you would have to head back again! My DS goes in for an hour and this works perfectly for me to attend a 45 min class.
Think about the ages you are prepared to have in the creche. Mine gets very quiet in school holidays because it only takes under fours, and lots of parents who use the gym and creche in term time are stuck in the holidays as there is nowhere for them to put their older children. Maybe you could think about taking on extra staff in school holidays and running a creche type facility for older children too?

buddhasbelly Thu 12-Nov-15 16:19:40

Procrastinating brill feedback - the unit I have sourced could accommodate both so have a dual purpose function.

Definitely agree that the time will be longer, i'm excited yet nervous to present next week, need flowers

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