Sculpt Newry benefitted from the NMD Business Growth Programme

When the Covid-19 crisis struck and the restrictions in how we all go about our day to day activity were put in place, the Newry City Fitness Centre, Sculpt Newry was forced into a radical rethink in how they delivered their health and wellbeing services to local people.

The team behind Sculpt Newry, Geraldine Kilkoyne and Geraldine McAleenan, were forced into a quick re think about how they deliver their service, which they did with the help of the Newry, Mourne and Down District Council Business Support Programme. Through the programme Sculpt Newry availed of mentoring from a business consultant who helped the team make the online transition and to embrace the use of social media.

Geraldine McAleenan says that the programme mentor made the difference exactly when it was needed, “our mentor, Andrew from Full Circle, gave us very practical help with our social media output and our technology but more than that, he gave us confidence as well and that was very important.”

Geraldine explained the ethos behind the business.

“The first thing to say is, we are not a gym. Sculpt Newry is a health and wellbeing centre. We work mainly with women though it is certainly not the case that males are not encouraged to take part, they are!

“Since we opened in 2006 it happens that a significant number of local women have come to us at an early age and have stuck with us and our programme through the various milestones of their life. We help people maintain physical and mental wellbeing through movement, nutrition, meditation and physical activity such as a boot camp. We have a high number of women who came to use for support as their wedding approached, and have continued to use Sculpt Newry through recovery from childbirth, the ageing process and the post menopause.

Sculpt also offers branded programs such as Sculpt ’n’ Mums, G&G secrets, Operation Transformation , Me&mzm, which helps address the menopause, and many seasonal Bootcamps such as Little Black Dress, Easter Honey , Bikini and Back to Porridge. It really has become a lifetime journey.

“We operate daily classes every day as well as one to one support for individuals. Before the current crisis our business was well established and had a regular, loyal customer base.”

When the Covid-19 crisis was a long way off Sculpt Newry signed up to the Council’s Business Support Programme and Geraldine says the mentoring support they received through proved crucial when it came to adapting to the new normality forced on the business community by the coronavirus crisis.

The mentor assigned to Sculpt Newry helped the organisation to build up a social media profile and to make use of online promotion. When the premises were forced to close Sculpt Newry was offered the opportunity to move online via Destination Newry and their own Facebook page. Now classes take place each morning and are broadcast into users homes. Geraldine has been delighted with the take up.

“Some days we have over 1,000 people taking part online and that ranges from the very young to some of our more experienced customers. It keeps them all active and maintains a loyalty to the Sculpt Newry brand which we hope and believe will keep them on board when we eventually do get to re-open.”

Asked about the support received from the programme, Geraldine has no hesitation in recommending other businesses in the Council area to register for the programme and take advantage of the support on offer.

“We would absolutely recommend the Business Support Programme to any business which is eligible.”

Businesses that want to diversify or get help through this difficult economic time can get more information and enrol on the Newry, Mourne and Down Business Growth Programme by following this link https://www.newrymournedown.org/growing-your-business

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