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new
opening
With bright-
coloured kit and
graffi ti-covered
walls, it’s clear
who the club is
designed for
YOUNG AT HEART
Caroline Wilkinson visits a new standalone youth facility
owned by ex-professional footballer Mickey Mellon,
which recently opened in Blackpool, Lancashire
H
aving the police visit a breaking barriers
facility that hosts a large The franchisees, ex-
community of under- professional footballer Mickey
18s with a melting pot Mellon and his wife Jane, were
of behavioural issues eager to create a facility that got
wasn’t what surprised me; it was the Blackpool kids more active, off the
motive behind the visit. The police, streets and away from their games
along with many other youth-focused consoles. But, according to Jane,
organisations including schools and convincing the kids wasn’t the
sports clubs, are scrambling over main challenge – the parents The club has
each other to use the new facilities at were the barrier. a gym, but the
SHOKK Blackpool. Trying to get the message social element is
Whether it’s linking with schools to across that the club is just as important
help achieve the government’s directive a lifestyle-based multi- as lifting weights
of fi ve hours’ exercise a week, opening activity centre, albeit with a
their doors to the local PCT and care gym – not a place where kids
homes, or working with the police to just pump weights – has been a
help get disenfranchised youth off the struggle: “At times it’s like bringing
streets, the club is generating high levels the mountain to Mohammed,” says Kieran
of interest in the local community. Murphy, marketing director at SHOKK.
The new club, which has been “When you fi rst hear about a kids’ gym,
three years in the making, is the fi rst most respond with ‘what’s that?’ It’s
standalone facility developed under not an easy concept to understand, so
the joint franchise venture between instructors have to take the kit out and
youth fi tness specialist SHOKK and The do demos. That way parents and schools
énergie Group – a partnership launched can see what young people get from
in October 2007 – and will be used as a it, as opposed to telling them or giving
benchmark for future developments. them a fl yer. You have to bring it to life.”
june 2009 © cybertrek 2009 Read Health Club Management online 39
healthclubmanagement.co.uk/digital
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