Harrogate fitness duo offers free sessions to keep town moving through lockdown

A fitness club founded by two Harrogate women has been offering free exercise classes to pupils, staff and parents at Harrogate Grammar School throughout the lockdown - and is now extending the offer to other residents.

Friday, 5th March 2021, 12:42 pm

Harrogate instructors Claire Eccles and Louise Annat, founders of Heaven & Hell Fitness, have been running free fitness classes over Zoom to keep people active.

Claire and Louise both have children at, or who have attended, Harrogate Grammar School.

Pictured from left: Claire Eccles and Louise Annat, the faces behind Heaven & Hell Fitness. Picture: Gerard Binks.

This winter they knew they had to do something to help not only the students, but parents and teachers too who may be struggling to keep moving whilst gyms are closed and bad weather has often made it difficult to get outside.

The school already offers three live PE lessons, so Heaven & Hell have complemented this offering with dozens of free live Zoom classes.

Louise said: “We have been running our classes at Harrogate Grammar for over 15 years and the school has always been so good to us. We wanted to give something back to the HGS community. This third lockdown has been so hard on everyone, especially in terms of motivation and mental health.

"Teenagers are really struggling stuck at home, parents too - and the pressure on teachers is huge. So, it’s been brilliant to reach out to them all. Over 60 people have signed up to our free classes in February and there is still time to sign up and try them before schools reopen."

Pictured from left: Claire Eccles and Louise Annat, the faces behind Heaven & Hell Fitness. Picture: Gerard Binks.

Claire and Louise are a firm fixture of the Harrogate community and have raised over £4,000 in the past year for NHS Charities Together and Saint Michael’s Hospice.

The duo also won three Mumbler ‘Lockdown Local Hero’ awards for delivering their morale-boosting classes during the pandemic.

“We’re all about helping people to feel positive and energised, whatever their age and ability,” Claire said. “From yoga to Pilates to HIIT training, our classes are really inclusive and friendly. It’s been brilliant to have so many people join Heaven & Hell recently, as online is of course so accessible.

"It’s been a lifeline for busy parents and teachers, and even the teens are feeling the benefit. We can’t wait to see everyone face-to-face soon and build on this supportive community.”

The pair says the classes have helped people to keep their minds active, as well as their bodies, and have become very social, with people chatting in a Whatsapp group and discussing the exercises.

They have also received good feedback about what a difference it has made to people to have a timetable to follow and a structure to their day during such uncertain times.

Louise added: "Fitness is so important, it has been a real lifesaver for people throughout the lockdown. People have told us how good these classes have been for their mental health and how nice it has been to have a purpose, a structure, just something to follow and look forward to.

"We are always really positive and upbeat and that seems to have been really helping people."

Following the success of the classes, Claire and Louise are now offering a two week free trial to our readers - valid from March 5 until March 19.

To take part, visit: www.heavenandhellfitness.com/free-two-week-trial/For further details, contact Louise on 07958492621 or Claire on 07976240255.