A strong relationship with the North East’s most active business investor has helped a County Durham-headquartered gym business open its latest fitness facility – and to start making plans for where it goes next.

OneGym has used a £300,000 investment from the North East Growth Capital Fund Supported By The European Regional Development Fund via the Recovery Loan Scheme to open a brand new fitness facility at Thinford Park near Spennymoor, close to the Durhamgate roundabout.

The new 24/7 gym is the sixth in the OneGym chain, sitting alongside branches in Bishop Auckland, Newton Aycliffe, Redcar, Thornaby and Stockton.

Each of the firm’s previous gym openings have been backed by NEL investments, going back to 2012, and the company’s management team is now working on plans to open two further gyms in North East locations before the end of this year.

The new Thinford Park facility includes studio space, saunas, sunbeds, changing rooms and a range of state-of-the-art fitness equipment supplied by high-end Italian manufacturer Panatta.

Eight new full-time jobs have been created in the new branch, taking the total number of people employed by OneGym to 40, with a number of freelance instructors also employed to deliver fitness classes across the chain.

Brothers Paul and David Pearson set up OneGym ten years ago to offer users access to all the latest fitness equipment and classes without costly add-ons like swimming pools that they don’t necessarily want to use.

Investments in refurbishing the firm’s existing sites and adding in new equipment are also progressively being made, with the Thornaby site being next on the list.

Managing director Paul Pearson says: “Like every other business in the leisure and hospitality sectors, we’ve experienced some real challenges through the pandemic, but we’ve been thriving over the last year and are looking ahead with real optimism.

“Thinford Park represents an ideal location for the next stage of our development.  It can attract members from a wide range of surrounding communities in every direction, as well as from the nearby Amazon facilities, has great transports links and is close enough to our Newton Aycliffe and Bishop Auckland sites to make it an accessible 24-hour option for members there too.

“The response we’ve had so far has been extremely encouraging, and is further proof that the OneGym brand proposition is an attractive one for North East consumers who want value for money, great facilities and high standards of equipment and service.

“All our facilities are trading really well and we’re already working on plans for where in the North East we’re going to go next.

“Our working relationship with the NEL team has always been extremely positive, and both their investments and their wider business expertise have been central to the progress we’ve made over the last decade.”

Jonathan Luke, portfolio director at NEL Fund Managers, adds: “OneGym is firmly established as one of the leading names in the North East health and fitness market, and we’re proud to have played a part in the team’s continuing success.

“Having access to growth capital through different stages of their development is essential for ambitious North East firms and OneGym is continuing to show how to make great use of what’s available in the region.”

The North East Growth Capital Fund has been designed to create around

790 jobs in more than 70 regional firms over the life of the programme and offers unsecured investments of up to £500,000 to established businesses looking to realise their growth potential.

The overarching £120m North East Fund will provide financial support for more than 600 businesses, creating around 3,500 jobs and delivering a legacy of up to £80m for further investment into the region.