Fighting Fit

Scott Moore Title

Having enjoyed an expansive life playing sport at a high level throughout his life, Scott Moore is now using his enthusiasm for sport and fitness to boost the lifestyles of people within Leicestershire.

Playing cricket and football to a high level, the former alongside England bowler Stuart Broad, sport is something that has been a constant in Scott’s life and, at the age of 17, he started coaching whilst not working as an upholsterer.

Donating 12 hours a week to sports clubs, Scott took great joy in coaching; however he became unhappy in his place of work. Following a discussion with his wife, Scott made the decision to move into coaching full-time – and the foundation for his company – CEL Sports – was laid.

However, two months after getting CEL Sports off the ground, with help from one of The Sir Thomas White Loan Charity’s interest-free loans, the COVID-19 pandemic hit and stopped life as we knew it in its tracks.

“We started in January, but by mid-March, we were put in lockdown,” explained Scott. “That week, we’d taken bookings from schools that were interested in using us. It was the same again after schools opened again – and then we were put into the second lockdown.”

The impact that COVID-19 would have on our way of life was completely unprecedented, with businesses among the many that would be hit hard by lockdowns imposed on the nation.

For Scott and CEL Sports, however, the timing of outbreak of the pandemic enabled him to quickly adjust his company’s offering and provide something that, even with restrictions in place once lockdown was lifted, customers would be able to access.

“With the loan we obtained from The Sir Thomas White Loan Charity, we took a bit of a punt with a small venue in Glen Parva,” Scott said. “We’ve turned that into a mini gym and fitness studio. Our target audience, without sounding nasty in any way, are people that want to get fit but don’t consider themselves your usual gym-goers; people that wouldn’t normally go into a commercial gym. I’m a sporty guy – and even I don’t like going into commercial gyms; the feel of them and the way that people look and stare.

“We did a lot of market research and the vibe I was getting was that at least 85% of people we spoke to felt exactly the same way,” he added. “We kitted out the small venue with two treadmills, two cross-trainers, two exercise bikes, some free weights and a little weight bench, a TV and a mirror and started taking online bookings.

“Our gym is an additional dimension to the business now. This was something that we’d probably looked to do in year four of our business plan, but given the circumstances with schools, things changed and the venue enabled us to ensure that, provided there isn’t a strict lockdown, we’ll be in a position to offer something regardless of whether the schools are open or not.”

Adaptation has been key for Scott, who believes he has become a better business owner as a result of the challenges posed by COVID-19. With the Government’s roadmap out of COVID making good progress, CEL Sports is back hosting sessions in schools alongside running its Glen Parva gym.

“We’ve teamed up with two cricket clubs to deliver sessions and I’m able to deliver my football coaching academy at a club that are enabling us use of the facilities free of charge. The benefit of lockdown was that it enabled me to form some really good connections with other venues.”

As with many to have borrowed from The Sir Thomas White Loan Charity, Scott is a huge supporter of the charity and what it offers aspiring or existing businesses in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland.

“The people on the panel were really good,” he said of his experience at his interview with the charity’s trustees, which forms a central part of the application process. “They understood what I was trying to do and how I was planning to do it.

“The feeling I got was that The Sir Thomas White Loan Charity is keen to invest in people, not just the business idea. I’d like to believe that alongside the business plan, they could see a determination in me, in that I will find a way to adjust to ensure success.

“The best thing about The Sir Thomas White Loan Charity is the fact that the loans are interest-free and you get three years before you have to start repaying,” he added.

“If you go running to a bank, you’ve got high interest, immediate repayments and you’re left really uneasy. With The Sir Thomas White Loan Charity, I feel like you’ve got some support and backing. The charity has people there that won’t put pressure on you, but want to see you succeed. That is massive for a small business.”

For more information on CEL Sport, their sessions and gym, please visit www.celsports.co.uk

Alternatively, please visit www.stwcharity.co.uk/business-loans for details on the interest-free business loans on offer from The Sir Thomas White Loan Charity.