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Hackney gym goes bust leaving shocked members out of pocket

PUBLISHED: 15:08 17 June 2014 | UPDATED: 15:14 19 June 2014

Sunstone womens only club in Stoke Newington. Photo Google Streetmap.

Sunstone womens only club in Stoke Newington. Photo Google Streetmap.

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"Devastated" members of a women-only health club face losing hundreds of pounds of subscription money after managers announced its insolvency, leaving 13 staff jobless.

Sunstone, a centre boasting a swimming pool, gym, salon and therapy clinic, in Northwold Road, Stoke Newington, ceased trading on Friday after 22 years in business.

Redundant staff and exercise teachers at the club – which counted singer Leona Lewis and MP Diane Abbott among its members – along with other users who are out of pocket have been sharing their shock on a Facebook group, Sunstone Survivors.

As recently as last week the club, which offered a discount for paying up-front, was still accepting annual subscriptions at a more than £600.

Former member Susan Janes is still “reeling”. She said: “I’ve been liaising with all the members – they’re lost, some people relied on that place.

“This is a haven for all the women in Hackney – it was something very special. It’s gone and it’s gone horribly.”

Yoga teacher Kirsty Gallacher posted on the Facebook page: “It’s taken me a couple of days to get over the shock and now am left feeling a bit low and lost – normally I’d be heading out round about this time to teach my Hatha Yoga class.

“I know they say as one door closes another opens and all that, but right now it feels like a very heavy door that needs a huge push.”

Former member Louise Cowburn added: “Sunstone was more than just a gym, it was a community. Not sure I can face any chain gyms, unless we all go together. If I had the money I’d open my own independent gym. I’m beyond gutted.”

The director of Sunstone, Michael Sinclair, said in a statement issued through liquidators PCR LLP he was “immensely saddened” the operation was no longer commercially viable.

“This has been caused by a steady fall in membership coupled with a decline in operating ratios,” he added.

A spokesman for PCR LLP, the liquidators, said there was no way of telling at this stage whether members would get their money back.

He said: “They might, they might not, PCR has no idea of the amounts owed.

“There are strict legal regulations over which debts have to be satisfied first. Until they work that out they can’t disperse any monies,

“In terms of the subscriptions we have no idea where they rank in the order of getting money back.

“It’s sadly another victim of the decrease in leisure spending.”

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