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Business support grant helps get new Ebbw Vale fitness centre up and running

Personal Trainer Darren Lukaris

Personal Trainer Darren Lukaris has launched an impressive new fitness studio in Ebbw Vale town centre.

And as well as looking after his growing band of clients there, he has opened the place up to other Personal Trainers to run and develop their businesses alongside him.

After four years travelling the world in the Royal Navy and developing his physical fitness, he returned to Wales and began working in a large, traditional gym in the area.  He always believed though, there was a demand for personal training in smaller groups to deal with particular needs.

So in the summer of 2020 the 25-year-old began offering safe outdoor personal training sessions in his garden, whilst gyms were shut. He did not think that, a year on, he would realise his dream of having his own private personal training studio.

“Many people don’t feel comfortable in a large gym with others exercising around them. That’s why I wanted to offer a more bespoke service to small groups and individuals,” he said.

The business has got off to a strong start, despite the problems of Lockdown. “I could have not asked for a better year, even with all the problems of Covid.

“I wish to give other personal trainers an easier chance to become successful, as well as providing a professional and affordable service to the people of Blaenau Gwent and the wider area.”

The project received a £1000 Business Support grant, administered jointly by Tata Steel subsidiary UKSE and Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council.

Darren Lukaris Personal Training Studio is well located in Market Street in the heart of the town, with good parking nearby and close to the bus station.

“The grant was very helpful indeed and enabled me to buy equipment for the studio, such as a treadmill and weight training equipment,” he said. “I am very grateful for the support I received.”

He is now looking for Personal Trainers who want to rent space at the studio and develop their businesses in parallel with his. “They must have a Level 3 Personal Training qualification and valid insurance. I am offering flexible terms  – they will only have to pay to use the studio if they are earning themselves,” he said.

Clients cover a wide range of ages and fitness levels. “Everyone can benefit from personal training,” he said. “I help people of all ages to set targets and achieve their aims, whether that’s getting fitter or losing weight.”

In the future Darren is aiming to offer Nutrition planning, and to develop a gym alongside the Personal Training studio.

Glyn Thomas, UKSE Manager in Wales said he was delighted to support this new business. “We work with Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council to help new businesses get off the ground, and this is a perfect example. Darren clearly has a vision of how the studio will develop and is keen to help others who want to do the same. We wish him every success.”

Councillor Dai Davies, Deputy Leader and Executive Member for Regeneration and Economic Development said: “It is not easy to start a business in normal times and Darren deserves great credit in making such a good start given the challenges of Covid pandemic.

“It always pleasing when we see local new businesses launch and develop here in Blaenau Gwent.   I am sure this fitness business will go from strength to strength and I wish Darren and team all the very best for a successful future.”