Surrey: the health club home to physios and a weight management clinic

The River Bourne Club is a private members’ health club with a fully-equipped gym and swimming pool. The club has been used by both Surrey County Council and the local NHS to run health clinics.

The River Bourne Club is a private members’ health club with a fully-equipped gym and swimming pool. As well as serving its customers, the club has also been used by both Surrey County Council and the local NHS to run health clinics.

Working hand-in-hand with council and NHS 

The River Bourne Club is in the Surrey town of Chertsey. It boasts a large gym, 25 meter swimming pool and has a menu of classes ranging from pilates and BodyPump to karate for its members to choose from. 

The club has strong community links. It was built on council land more than 20 years ago and part of the planning agreement was to ensure the local population had affordable access to the centre. It means under the agreement with the council low price pay-as-you-go options are offered – the cost is currently £3.50 for an off-peak session. 

Club Assistant Manager, Sarah Townsend, said:

The ethos from the very start has been that we should be there for the community not just fitness fanatics and that has meant working hand-in-hand with the local council and NHS.

That approach has meant that over the years the club has been used to provide health services to the local population. A falls prevention clinic has been running for a number of years after being launched with initial funding from UK Active. 

And in 2019 the Ashford and St Peter’s Hospitals NHS Trust moved some of its physio and cardiac rehabilitation teams to the site in partnership with Runnymede Borough Council.

 There are now more than 12 physios working from the club providing both pelvic pain and musculoskeletal therapy, while exercise classes are arranged for those who are recovering from heart problems. 

Ryan Mackie, the trust’s Clinical Lead for Musculoskeletal Physiotherapy, said having his service in a community location like this had been of huge benefit as it had “de-medicalised” the service and helped promote healthy lifestyles more generally. 

The feedback gained from patients is that they no longer feel like a patient and that is helping them to build the knowledge and skills to self-manage successfully.

The benefits of the approach 

The club also runs an exercise-on-referral scheme and weight management programme for Surrey County Council. The first weight management programme was run last year. Twenty-four people took part in the 12-week programme, which twins physical activity with healthy lifestyle seminars. 

It includes free membership of the club for the period of the course and three one-hour sessions with a personal trainer. For the exercise part of the programme, the club’s Milon Circuit is particularly popular. It involves a 34-minute circuit involving resistance machines, cross-trainers and bikes. 

The seminars include everything from healthy cooking and snack swaps to the importance of sleep and dealing with stress. 

Club General Manager, Matt Russell, said:

It was really successful – one person lost a stone in weight during the programme. The great thing having it in a club like this is that people gain confidence using the equipment and stay on afterwards. We offer discounted membership to those taking part. 

“Out of the 24 who took part in the last course, 14 signed up to stay on. That’s a great retention rate and hopefully will mean the progress that has been made will continue.” 

Contact details 
Matt Russell 
General Manager 
River Bourne Club