Staff and members at Belsize gym ‘dumped in street’ after surprise closure
- Credit: Archant
Members and staff at a popular Belsize gym have spoken of their sadness and frustration after it closed with no warning.
SpringHealth Hampstead, in Belsize Park Gardens, shut its doors on Thursday last week – with oblivious staff told they had been made redundant in the morning and baffled members greeted by a sign on the door telling them the gym had ceased trading.
Some people had already paid for their annual membership as recently as last month, meaning they were scrambling to claim back their money – with one owed about £780.
Instructors who work at the gym were also left out of pocket, with many owed two weeks’ of payment, while some staff were reduced to tears after hearing the news.
Natasha Nother, studio co-ordinator at the gym, said the “unbelievably special” centre was a “home from home” and will be dearly missed.
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Explaining she had been there for 18 years, she added: “I got a text in the morning and ended up doing the school run in total shock. I arrived there and everyone had been given four hours to get stuff – everyone was literally dumped in the street.”
The centre was also sentimental for Ms Nother, who met her boyfriend there 10 years ago and whose two children spent a lot of time in its creche.
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She said: “It’s way more than a gym – it has a strong family feel.”
Ms Nother, who managed payroll at the gym, said full-time employees were given their wages but instructors who taught classes there are still owed about two weeks’ of pay.
That means both Ms Nother and boyfriend Peter Crimmins – who has held classes at the centre for 27 years – are owed cash, with Ms Nother saying they are now in jeopardy and must find a way to make up for the lost income.
Mr Crimmins added the centre was “neglected” but still had a unique atmosphere that attracted the likes of Helena Bonham Carter and members of Coldplay.
He said: “When I was told it was closing, I thought, ‘Hold on, it’s not April Fools’ Day, is it?’ I really couldn’t believe it.”
Ballet teacher Courtney Murray and yoga instructor Ann-Louise Holland, meanwhile, have hopes the gym could be rescued by a buyer.
Ms Murray, who had been going to the gym since 2006 and feels special warmth towards it because it was the first job she got after having two children, said: “It’s been a massive blow, but there’s a hope someone will take over and save it. The location is amazing.”
Ms Holland added: “It would be fantastic if someone else took over. I’m completely shocked and upset that it closed so suddenly, especially since there wasn’t a whisper that it was in trouble.”
A spokesman for the administrators said SpringHealth had ceased to trade on Thursday because it had incurred “substantial losses”.
The question of whether any money is owed to employees or members is “between the company and its staff and customers”, he added. Any enquiries should be directed to Smith Cooper on 0115 945 4300.
Ms Nother said she will continue to put on classes and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org