A young North Tyneside entrepreneur has combined his passion for physical activity with his own experience of managing depression to build his own successful health and well-being business.
Davey Hoops opened the First Step Health Fitness and Wellbeing Centre in April this year as a direct way to make a positive impact on people with social anxiety issues, eating disorders or mental health issues.
Six new jobs have already been created at the centre on the North Tyne Industrial Estate near Holystone, which offers quality gym equipment, classes and personal training, all with a strong emphasis on building confidence in a supportive environment.
More than 40 members have been recruited in the centre’s first three months, a figure which Davey is hoping will reach three figures within the next six months.
And he is already planning to expand the concept to other locations around the region, and eventually further afield.
The business is being supported with technology and digital equipment provided by Team Valley-based copy, print and scan management company SOS Group, which works with a wide range of clients within the sports and fitness industries.
28-year-old Davey, who is from Morpeth, was diagnosed with depression in 2017 and ended up putting on around 70 pounds in weight in just eight months as a result.
He says: “I was sad, lethargic and had no direction in life after my diagnosis, and used food to comfort myself, but within six months of improving my physical activity levels and diet, I managed to lose all the weight I’d put on, started First Step and regained a real purpose and happiness in my life.
“Our members feel comforted in the fact that I have been exactly where they are and I will be with them to help and encourage every step of the way.
“The role of being physically active is so important when developing physical attributes such as losing body fat, developing muscle mass or increasing fitness.
“Being more active can reduce stress, depression and anxiety while increasing confidence and self-esteem, and being able to apply my own knowledge has really helped us get the business up and running quickly.
“Our aim is to positively impact as many people as possible, and our ambitions are to expand the number of our centres regionally, nationally and even internationally, as well as providing comprehensive online coaching support.
“The technical support and data security advice from SOS Group is proving invaluable. It’s helping free us up to concentrate on working closely with our members and providing one less financial burden at this critical early stage.”
SOS Group has a growing reputation in the sporting events sector and has provided digital office equipment services at competitions including the IAAF World Athletics Championships, the Special Olympics GB National Games, British Swimming Summer Championships and World Para Athletics Championships.
It also works with selected new businesses to supply a multifunction device, which provides combines printer, scanner and copier capabilities, via a simplified contract and providing all servicing and technical support.
Andrew Skelton, director at SOS Group, adds: “We’ve always enjoyed working with new companies and helping them flourish, whatever size they are, and see supporting start-up with strong growth potential for as an investment in our future as well as theirs.
“Essentially, for these new clients, this means no capital expenditure or personal guarantees required and ensures they have the most energy and cost-efficient technology to keep their business up-to-date.
“Davey and his team are making excellent use of the technologies we provide and it’s giving them a firm base from which to safely and securely build their operations.”
Launched in 2002, to supply digital office equipment, related software and support, SOS Group services ‘blue chip’ clients nationally and, increasingly, internationally.
It employs 23 staff and services include document management, scanning, cost consultation, managed print services and supplying and maintaining leading brand digital office equipment. It is an accredited Kyocera UK agent and Lexmark approved partner.