Fitness First, Goodlife Health Clubs announce childcare facilities are closing permanently

Members of Goodlife Health Clubs and Fitness First gyms are livid after it was announced a hugely popular service is being focused across Australia.

A major Australian fitness chain has announced it is closing the childminding facilities at 89 gyms nationwide, sparking outrage among parents.

The Fitness and Lifestyle Group currently operates creche facilities at its top tier Fitness First and Goodlife Health clubs.

But as of July 3, the gym giants will be closing the door on its childminding facilities at the two gym chains, citing a “drastic reduction” in attendance that “rendered the service unsustainable”.

The move will see all childminding employees of the fitness chain out of work as of next month, though some will hopefully be redeployed elsewhere in the business, and has left parents devastated.

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A spokesperson for The Fitness and Lifestyle Group told news.com.au the health and fitness industry was still recovering from the pandemic and was now in a period of “transition” that took into account current gym and lifestyle habits.

“Recovering from Covid-19 continues to represent a significant challenge to all in the health club industry.

“As a business, we have seen very clear changes in member behavior since early 2020, and it is incumbent on us to adapt to meet our members’ changing needs.

“Sadly, one of the clear changes in member behavior is a drastic reduction in the usage of our childminding service, which has decreased between 50 to 60 per cent vs pre-Covid levels, rendering the service unsustainable.”

The spokeperson added it had been a “very hard decision for the business”.

“We are working closely on support and redeployment opportunities for our impacted team members and in providing support for our members as they readjust their routines.”

One mum who purchased a black membership, that costs $34.99 a week and includes 3 childminding sessions, at the Goodlife Health Club in to Karrinyup, WA said the move was “terrible”.

“Closing the creche will come at the cost of the health and wellbeing of so many parents,” she said.

“I’m devastated, as are all my mama friends, as this will take away our ability to workout and try to stay healthy and recover our bodies.

“I’m also devastated as all of the lovely creche workers will be out of a job.”

She explained many members discovered the change to their memberships via a sign posted at the gym or on social media, describing it as a “kick in the teeth” for women who are juggling child care with work.

“A friend of mine sent me a photo of the sign, asking ‘is this real?’ she said.

“The fact they haven’t communicated anything is ridiculous.”

She also stated the childminding facility at her local club was always busy, with at least 16-20 kids inside at any one time.

“It’s pretty devastating,” she said. “I will be canceling my membership, I can no longer justify the cost.”

Angry members are now also blowing up in the comments section of a recent Goodlife Health Clubs Australia Facebook post as news of the decision spreads.

“Shame on you closing all creche facilities Australia wide GoodLife. What an abysmal decision. For every mum who now needs to cancel their membership, I sure hope you plan to waive the membership cancellation fee,” one woman raged on Friday.

“Closing all your child minding areas down to accommodate for a pilates studio is the dumbest business decision ever made in the history of gym ownership,” a frustrated father wrote.

“So many people (myself included) purchased our memberships BECAUSE of the creche facilities. In fact, I was sold my membership on the premise I would receive 3 creche passes a week included. This is absolutely false and misleading, to sell a membership and within two months, revoke one of the main components of it! I’m furious and disappointed,” another mother pointed out.

Many more stated they would be “cancelling” their memberships unless the decision was overturned.

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