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Supporting African children through sponsorship and fund raising Primarily Uganda, the majority of the children live in the village of Kisoro

  • Group of Ugandan children with visiting staff from UK-based Fitness Express who are actively sponsoring 30 children
  • Beautiful image of a young boy and girl (possibly brother and sister) with big smiles
  • Large group of young Ugandan children raising their hands and smiling. They are supported by the charity, Compassion
  • Fitness Express staff member with a group of young Ugandan children taken during visit to see the impact of their sponsorship with Compassion charity

Each of our health clubs and spas sponsor a child through the Compassion Charity’s sponsorship programme. Compassion UK is a Christian Charity which helps children aged between 3 years and 22 years break free from the cycle of poverty. We currently sponsor 30 children and this funding helps with education, health care, hygiene training and the provision of food. In addition, our clubs and spas fund raise for the communities where our sponsored children live. We have provided financial support of more than £100,000 over a nine year period as well as the time of our staff teams. In 2006, three of our staff team visited Uganda for four days to meet some of our sponsored children and to see a play area in their community which our staff and customers had raised funds for.

How did it start?

When we (a team led by Dave Courteen, our Managing Director) bought the Fitness Express business back from Crown Sports (we subsequently founded Imagine Spas) in 2004, we wanted to find a charity to support which was consistent with our vision of ‘making a difference to people’s lives’ be they members, staff or clients.


To make a positive difference to the lives of the children we sponsor and the communities they live in.

Why is this project important?

It allows our staff teams to extend their abilities in looking after others. We are fortunate to work with lots of caring and talented people who work hard to provide customer satisfaction. This project further harnesses those talents and abilities to help support children in one of the poorest regions of the World.

Project resources

We have provided financial support which totals in excess of £100,000 over a nine year period in addition to the time of staff teams.

Project results

We have sponsored over 40 children and currently have 30 active sponsorships. In addition, we have raised over £40,000 to help fund improvements in the communities where these children live.

Gymtopia Comment

There are so many reasons we love this project. It is highly focused and deeply embedded in every one of their clubs and spas. Staff are heavily involved – this is not some superficial and short-term  initiative cooked up by the marketing team. They are also clearly in it for the long-term. Once you commit to sponsoring a child, you cannot turn around six months later and change your mind – it is a multi-year commitment until children are at least 16, perhaps longer if they are to realise their potential. This partnership with Compassion UK is fast approaching ten years which is the longest of all the  Gymtopia projects we have discovered.

Project by:Fitness Express Health Clubs & Imagine Spas

Fitness Express Health Clubs & Imagine Spas

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Location: Primarily Uganda, the majority of the children live in the village of Kisoro
Start date: March 2005
Status: Ongoing
Impact: Global
Submitted: 29 August 2014
Charity: Compassion UK