Work is underway at the former USC/Sports Direct site in Ramsgate’s Queen Street to create the Blitz Academy which will house a gym, nursery and creche, restaurant, beauty and health clinic and will offer training courses and apprenticeships.
In May plans from JDP (South) Limited to extend and convert the former Sports Direct and USC store building into 31 flats and four commercial units including the basement gym, were approved by Thanet council.
‘A safe haven’
The business areas of the development will be headed up by 56-year-old Paul Clarke who says he will create: “a community hub for all, from all walks of life, a place where everyone feels welcome regardless of age, sexual orientation, disabilities, creed or colour.”
Paul qualified as a mortgage broker before moving into property development in 1996. He has used gyms since his youth and qualified as a personal trainer in 2015. He also assists people who suffer from a range of physical ailments after devising a rehabilitation programme for himself following a motorbike accident in 2000.
Paul said: “I moved to Ramsgate from London in 2006 and became qualified as a personal trainer in 2015, working in various gyms since that time, sharing my wealth of knowledge and experience.
“It is that sense of community, support and belonging, that so benefited me, that Blitz intend to replicate, a desire to build more than just a gym.
“Blitz will be a safe haven and place of education, hence the use of the name Academy. A place to socialise with friends, recharge and unwind in our salon or simply have a coffee with friends in our restaurant, Blitz aims to provide a bespoke service to the local community that is affordable yet high quality, whilst providing knowledge and education on health and well-being.
“The ultimate goal is to motivate, inspire and educate others about the benefits of exercising and living a holistic healthy, productive lifestyle.”
Under the Blitz Group umbrella there will be several strands to the business.
Wiz Kidz Inc will run the Ofsted registered nursery with capacity for 33 children and a creche for up to eight infants. There are also plans for forest school outings so children can also learn about their environment.
The on-site restaurant, Nutrition & Co, will provide calorie and macro-counted, nutritious foods and these will be provided for the nursery children as well as being open to customers.
The 30 cover restaurant will also create supper packages that parents/customers can order to take home and will offer gluten-free, vegetarian, vegan and halal meals.
The Blitz gym will have a 1,300 membership capacity and there will be consultation when joining and trainers on hand to make sure people know how to use the equipment correctly.
There will be 40 varied studio classes per week, from studio cycling to yoga, Mai Thai, Fight Klub, and many others.
Paul said: “We aim to cater for all ages and life stages, from the age of two in our nursery, to those in their golden years with our ‘young at heart‘ class for those aged sixty plus.
“In the holidays we will increase our timetable, developing programmes that work with kids over a 13 week membership which allows them to utilise the gym throughout the holidays and access extra activities aimed at 6-16 years old.
“There will be supervised classes to teach youngsters techniques which will run in conjunction with classes for mums and dads, such as Zumba, spin or boxing. There will also be a club for teenagers which again will be supervised.”
The two studio gym will open from 6am-10pm Monday to Friday, 7am-8pm Saturday and 7am-5pm Sunday.
There are plans for beach boot camps at Ramsgate, ante and post-natal courses; peri-menopause and menopause specialist courses providing support around nutrition and exercise; online and blended courses, such as personal training, beauty therapy, mental health and well-being, obesity management with referrals from the NHS.
Blitz will be working with Kent County Council, providing apprenticeships across the various businesses and accepting both youngsters and people who may want to change career or upskill.
The aim is to have five apprentices at a time for a 12-18 month period of training.
The building will also contain the Business Hub providing a space where businesses or individuals can hire conference rooms or individual ‘hot-desks’.
The Orchid Beauty and Aesthetics Clinic will offer a range of treatments from anti-wrinkle injections to facials and massage and will be open 9am-5pm Monday-Saturday. There will be an opportunity to train and achieve qualifications within the beauty Guild industry and go on to use the business space within the site.
Paul said: “What will make us unique is our business package. People can qualify with the courses and then learn about social media strategy, being self employed and dealing with their taxes, there will be help with website design so people can turn their certificate into a beauty related business.”
A social media launch for each of the businesses will take place next month alongside advertising on Thanet Loop buses.
The target opening date is late December/early January.