Falkirk gym unveils wall-length mural to thank members for 'crucial' support amid pandemic

A Falkirk gym has installed a mural displaying the names of 139 members to thank them for their “crucial” support throughout the pandemic.

Thursday, 13th May 2021, 12:30 pm
Updated Thursday, 13th May 2021, 2:20 pm

Had it not been for the backing of those who use The Engine Room, owner and head coach Connor Russell concedes the business could’ve been forced to call it quits.

Fortunately, many members kept up with their payments.

To the amazement of staff, even those whose financial situation meant they had to cancel their membership pledged to return to the Callendar Road facility when they were able to do so.

The Engine Room in Falkirk unveiled a mural dedicated to all the members and those who have helped the gym out amid the coronavirus pandemic. Picture: Mark Rankine.

In turn, Connor enlisted the help of Megan Porter, of Falkirk design studio Porter and Bramble, to create a mural dedicated to all those who played a part in seeing the gym through the past year.

The businessman said: “It’s a thanks from myself.

“Members helped keep the gym afloat and gave myself and the three other personal trainers (PTs) a lifeline. It was absolutely amazing. I was overwhelmed with the support we got.

“We would’ve been in trouble and we possibly could’ve had to close the gym. It was a very stressful time for myself and the other PTs.

Connor Russell, owner and head coach of The Engine Room in Falkirk. Picture: Michael Gillen.

“We did as much as we could for the members, whether it be online or outdoor classes. We ran free nutritional classes for members, and those who weren’t could pay.

“We tried to offer the members as much as we could but it still wasn’t our usual service. I rate our usual service quite highly, so we weren’t delivering as much as we normally do.

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“Despite that, people continued to pay for their membership and supported us financially.

“Businesses managed to get grants from the government. Those were responsible for helping us pay our rent and bills.

“We didn’t get breaks on finance and it wasn’t enough to cover that so the members’ support was absolutely crucial for the gym to get through the pandemic. I was able to pay my wage and the wages of staff who are self-employed.”

Due to the uncertainty surrounding reopening dates for businesses during the first lockdown, The Engine Room inevitably lost customers.

However, many have since returned.

Connor continued: “A lot of them reassured me that as soon as we were back open they would join back up and a lot of them did.

“I also posted in private groups thanking the teams behind the scenes who have been coming in and doing the sessions in front of the camera.

“I put their names up and I also thanked my mum and dad, Heather and Bobby, and brother, Devon. My mum helps with the admin and my dad does the maintenance.

“My brother is a jack of all trades. I wouldn’t be here with a business that’s now thriving without them.”

The Engine Room presently provides a socially distanced space where gym-goers can book one-hour slots to work out.

Connor added: “The members have been more than willing to put up with the changes.

“The open gym set-up has gone really well. We’re going to continue it until May 31 and run classes from June.

“I can’t thank the members enough. It’s all thanks to them we’re still here today and thriving.”

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