A ladies-only gym in Hackney has shut suddenly, leaving 13 staff without jobs and members facing the loss of hundreds of pounds of subscription fees.
Sunstone womens-only club, based in Northwold Road, Stoke Newington, boasted facilities including a swimming pool, gym and a salon. It had been in business for 22 years and counted Leona Lewis and MP Diane Abbott amongst its members: until it closed on June 13.
The closure of the gym was completely unexpected and marks not only a loss of an exercise facility, but a community for the women who went there.
Former members and staff have been expressing their shock on a Facebook group called Sunstone Survivors, set up by former member Susan Jones. Jones posted about the impact the closure has had: “I’ve been liaising with all the members – they’re lost, some people relied on that place. This is a haven for all the women in Hackney – it was something very special. It’s gone and it’s gone horribly.”
Former member Louise Cowburn added: “Sunstone was more than just a gym, it was a community.”
Members of the Sunstone Survivors have been using the Facebook group as a way to come together and discuss alternative options and gyms for them to join. Former staff who taught classes at the gym have also been trying to set up more classes in new venues, especially for former members.
Despite this positive spirit, there is still a question over whether the women will receive their money back.
As was originally reported by The Hackney Gazette , the club was “still accepting annual subscriptions at a more than £600” as recently as last week. A spokesman for PCR LLP, the liquidators, said: “PCR has no idea of the amounts owed. There are strict legal regulations over which debts have to be satisfied first. Until they work that out they can’t disperse any monies”.
There have been reports on the Facebook group that some members are having their membership fees refunded by their banks. On Facebook former gym member Isabelle Gore said: “My Bank seems to have refunded my membership! Lloyds told me to write to the Debit Card Dispute department and I can see on my account today that they have refunded the 9 months worth of membership left from my 12 month membership taken out in March. So there’s hope for debit card users out there.”
Other former members are being encouraged by the liquidators to attend a creditors meeting on July 1, in order to discuss the matter.