As part of EuropeActive’s commitment to promote and safeguard an inclusive and welcoming environment for all across the fitness and physical activity ecosystem, we are acknowledging and celebrating the LGBTIQ+ community and Pride Month. As of such we are thrilled to shine the spotlight on inspiring stakeholders who are proactively acknowledging, supporting, and celebrating the LGBTIQ+ community. This is further correlated with our European activities as it falls under our awareness-raising activities for our #HealthyLifestyle4All pledge.
PureGym‘s Chief Marketing Officer, Stephen Rowe, agreed to share how PureGym is proactively addressing Diversity and Inclusion, and Pride, for both members and staff!
Embracing our differences to drive our business results and create a better future every day.
The expectation on us as a society and as organisations to embrace diversity and inclusivity has never been greater. At PureGym, creating a gym in which everybody feels welcome has been central to our strategy from the start and we continue to remain at the forefront of this change.
We aim to be an inclusive and welcoming business for our members and our people because we believe that we can have a bigger impact when we embrace our differences to drive our business results and create a better future every day. By its very nature, a gym is a force for good; a place where people come to feel better about themselves, to make progress and to improve their physical and mental wellbeing. For us, an inclusive environment is at the heart of this, ensuring we welcome and support a wide and diverse range of members to our gyms, every age, body shape, experience, gender, sex, ethnicity, sexuality, or confidence level.
“It starts with our people” says Eve Sukhnandan, Group Chief People Officer. “If our colleagues don’t feel welcome, don’t feel able to be themselves, then how can we expect them to welcome our members? So, we have worked hard on Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging at PureGym, to make sure each one of us feels welcome and can be our authentic selves. This has become central to our culture and today forms the foundation of our member promise, Everybody Welcome.”
Internally, Everybody Welcome has seen the creation of Employee Network Groups representing the LGBTQ+, Women and Ethnic people of PureGym, however we will continue to evolve this to better represent and embrace the diversity of our people. As well as enhancing our day-to-day employee experience, our network groups encourage others to contribute to the success of the business with their rich and varied experiences. It is also backed up with extensive, mandatory training programmes for all colleagues to ensure that we share a level of understanding and have common, consistent conversations on the issues that matter.
To work, Everybody Welcome always had to be more than just a strapline. It had to be a promise to our members that we will create a great gym environment for them that was judgement-free, inclusive, and supportive, whoever they are. But a promise also needs ‘teeth’; to be able to back it up with action when things go wrong. So we‘ve built member policies to address any harassment or intimidation, and have trained all colleagues on these, centrally and in the gym, and at every level. We have even created a new specialist Member Care Team to deal with any member concerns and issues. We live and breathe Everybody Welcome, and it is part our culture, day in day out.
Pride at PureGym
Since our beginnings PureGym has supported Pride events throughout the UK and we are proud to be official partners of Manchester Pride, Pride in London and Brighton and Hove Pride. This is a great example of how Everybody Welcome lives both inside and outside the business. From floats in the parades to leading the warmups, we bring the full energy and passion of our team to the events. Every gym across our 320+ UK estate is encouraged to take part with their members and to celebrate with the LGBTQ+ community.
Our 2022 Pride Month campaign, Rise and Shine, was created in collaboration with our LGBTQ+ Employee Network Group and encouraged everyone to ‘Rise and Shine’ for the LGBTQ+ community. This campaign spoke to both LGBTQ+ people and allies: Rise encourages people to step up and become better allies and was a nod to the 50-year anniversary of Pride events in the UK and 53 years since the 1969 Stonewall Riots, which marked a raucous turning point for LGBTQ+ rights. Shine for LGBTQ+ people means self-acceptance and embracing who you are.
We created a film showcasing our LGBTQ+ Employee Network Group Ambassador stories, which was shared with millions of people across email and our social media channels. This was supported by a simple guide on fostering mental wellbeing and tips to becoming a better ally and the development of an internal Awareness and Inclusion module, which has a high completion rate at all levels across both our gym operations and our central support teams.
This campaign forms part of our 2022 Equality Action Plan and is supported by several important initiatives throughout the year to strengthen our commitment to making our workplace and gyms truly inclusive for LGBTQ+ people.
Everybody Welcome also has clear commercial value for us. While our low cost, no contract gyms open access to more and more people, our positive and supportive environment encourages them to join us and stay. So, our drive for inclusivity and diversity doesn’t just create a better experience for our members and our colleagues, it creates a better business for PureGym.
To go further:
- Rise and Shine film – celebrating Pride Month and promoting allyship here
- Pride event film from 2019 here
- Free to Be film – internal film supporting our DIBs strategy here
- International Women’s Day film – breaking down barriers for women in fitness here
- Lockdown film – how the PureGym family went the distance together here