Acti Fit 10 F

Justine Chadwick (CWLEP Growth Hub) with Ellis Bailey (middle) and Alex White (both from Acti-Fit)

A community coaching business is diversifying into organising healthy breakfast clubs and family-friendly online educational courses as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic.

Acti-Fit was launched last April by Ellis Bailey and former Worcester Warriors and Birmingham & Solihull RFC player Alex White to provide physically active learning sessions.

They had already held successful breakfast clubs at Galley Common Infant School in Nuneaton, Wood End Primary School in Atherstone and Brownsover Community School in Rugby which the business partners self-funded.

When Covid-19 struck forcing the cancellation of their expert sessions and nutrition-packed breakfast clubs, Ellis and Alex decided to hold free educational programmes for parents and children on Facebook – and the result was over 100,000 views with families tuning in from as far away as New Zealand and America.

The duo has now decided to launch a new division of the business called Acti-Fit Community CIC to run their breakfast clubs when schools fully re-open in September along with continuing their online fitness sessions after receiving advice from the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership (CWLEP) Growth Hub.

Ellis said the response from parents had been staggering and they were keen to build on its success to encourage youngsters to be active and provide education around the importance of eating healthily.

“Education is always at the centre of what we do,” he said. “We just use physical activity as a vehicle for that.

“Tackling obesity is among the Government’s priorities and we want to have a positive impact on children’s eating habits from an early age.

“The breakfast clubs we ran pre-Coronavirus were really successful and when I spoke to parents, their big worry was home schooling because many were nervous.

“We decided to strip one of our projects, Maths on the Move, back to basics so that parents and their children could join in from their living room via Facebook.

“We held them three times a week in the build-up to Easter and the response was phenomenal. We went viral with over 100,000 views and we had ex-pats living on the other side of the world joining in as well as raising £500 for NHS Charities Together.

“It became evident there was a demand for this so we decided to set-up Acti-Fit Community CIC so that we can apply for charitable funding and business grants.

“We have appointed coaches and we want to generate jobs and opportunities for young people to tackle youth unemployment as well as give back to the community.”

Ellis said the business, which has offices in Matlock Road in Coventry and Sutton Coldfield RFC in Walmsley Road, Sutton Coldfield, was growing organically.

“We’re a relatively new business with a lot of ambition and we are at the start of our business journey,” he said.

“The input of experienced people from the Growth Hub has really helped us and their advice to apply for funding and grants will be invaluable.

“From one conversation with a Growth Hub account manager, it has sparked a wealth of opportunities including linking up with business networking groups which is going to be really helpful as we move forward.”

Justine Chadwick, account manager at the CWLEP Growth Hub, said Acti-Fit had grasped the opportunities that had opened up from Covid-19.

She said: “Ellis and Alex are really knowledgeable about the education sector and they are determined to pass it on to the younger generation.

“Having their main source of income taken away from them in the early weeks of lockdown didn’t faze them and, in fact, made them think how they could reach youngsters and their families but in a different way.

“Setting up Acti-Fit Community CIC will enable them to apply for funding and grants which they wouldn’t have been entitled to previously and give them an opportunity to make a real difference to the obesity agenda.”

Bethany Wright
Article by Bethany Wright
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