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Healthtech case study: gymkids

A COMPANY which is playing a leading role in promoting exercise among children is itself going from strength to strength with the help of Health Tech.
Gymkids, set up only 2½ years ago, now supplies fitness equipment to 14 countries and has an annual turnover of £500,000.
Treadmills, bikes, rowers and steppers are used in 3,500 schools and nurseries across the UK and have opened up a whole new world for youngsters who previously turned away from PE.
Former IT and management consultant Steve Smith, who founded Gymkids with ex-teacher Rick Dalton, said: "Teachers have told us that if children don't like PE they will either not bring in their kit, or they just don't join in.
"Our equipment enhances existing PE provision in order to engage the children. Irrespective of a child's fitness level, he or she can use it with some success but without feeling they are on show, so there is an inclusive element which has many benefits."
Recently, the Basingstoke-based company has been taking advice from Health Tech experts James Love (Quality and Certification) and Alan Connington (Sales and Marketing).
Steve said: "We needed to be sure that we ticked all the right boxes and Health Tech have been very supportive in helping us with technical files and ensuring we have the right certification and accreditation.
"They have mentored us in terms of what is required from a health care perspective." He said that Health Tech had played a key role in helping Gymkids develop their products for children with special needs. "This is a completely different market and modifications are required depending on the degree of need. So we have enhanced seating for children with balance or mobility problems and a range of leg calipers and bucket pedals on bikes.
"Health Tech have supplied us with a range of information on the subject and acted as a sounding board in terms of what we should be doing."
The equipment supplied by Gymkids is also becoming increasingly sophisticated in that some items can be plugged into a TV set or PlayStation so that children can enjoy a game - which will work as long as they keep exercising.
Gymkids now has an ambassador in former Olympic athlete Darren Campbell, who has bought equipment for his own children and is spearheading Gymkids' FitCrew initiative, which aims to set up special programmes in centres across the country, particularly in deprived areas. The company works with the Youth Sport Trust and the Fitness Industry Association and has representatives in the USA, the Netherlands and Switzerland.
Steve said: "For me it has been an empowering experience. When we do an exhibition and see children jumping on and enjoying the equipment it is really inspiring."


Colin Davis +44 (0)7775 534349