Parents furious as Australian gym chain stops childcare

Members of Goodlife Health Clubs and Fitness First gyms are outraged after it was announced that a hugely popular service would be shutting down across Australia.

A major Australian fitness chain has announced it will close the daycare facilities of 89 gyms across the country, sparking outrage among parents.

The Fitness and Lifestyle Group currently operates crèches in the top clubs Fitness First and Goodlife Health.

But from July 3, the gym giants will close their childcare facilities at the two gym chains, citing a “drastic reduction” in attendance that “made the service unsustainable”.

The move will put all of the fitness chain’s childminders out of work starting next month, though hopefully some will be relocated elsewhere in the company, and parents are devastated.

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

“Recovering from Covid-19 remains a major challenge for everyone in the health club sector.

“As a company, we have seen very marked changes in member behavior since early 2020 and it is our duty to adapt to the changing needs of our members.

“Unfortunately, one of the obvious changes in member behavior is a drastic reduction in our childcare use, which has declined between 50 and 60 percent from pre-Covid levels, making the service unsustainable.”

The spokesperson added that it was a “very difficult decision for the company”.

“We are working closely together to provide support and relocation opportunities for our affected team members and to provide support to our members in adjusting their routines.”

A mom who bought a black membership, which costs $34.99 a week, including 3 childminder sessions, at the Goodlife Health Club in Karrinyup, WA, said the move was “terrible.”

“Closing the nursery is at the expense of the health and well-being of so many parents,” she said.

“I am devastated, as are all my mommy friends, because it takes away our ability to exercise and try to stay healthy and repair our bodies.

“I’m also devastated because all the sweet crèches are out of work.”

She explained that many members discovered the change in their membership via a sign in the gym or on social media, describing it as a “kick in the teeth” for women who combine childcare with work.

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

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

She also stated that the daycare at her local club was always busy, with at least 16-20 children in at a time.

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

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

“It’s a shame you’re closing all crèches across Australia, GoodLife. What a ridiculous decision. For any mother who has to cancel their membership now, I really hope you plan to waive the membership cancellation fee,” one woman raged Friday.

“Closing all your childcare spaces to accommodate a Pilates studio is the dumbest business decision ever made in the history of gym ownership,” wrote one frustrated father.

“So many people (myself included) bought our memberships BECAUSE of the crèches. In fact, my membership was sold on the condition that I receive 3 crèches per week. This is absolutely false and misleading, selling a membership and withdrawing one of its main components within two months! I’m furious and disappointed,” another mother commented.

Many more stated that they would “cancel” their membership unless the decision was reversed.

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