Gym and Junior is a project which operates a unique, family friendly exercise facility in a converted church in the Cathays area of Cardiff.
The project came about after a survey was taken to find out what local parents would like from a fitness facility, being aware that many new mums are trying to lose baby weight and keep fit.
Overwhelmingly, many of the people surveyed said that going to a gym wasn’t an option, as the increased cost and logistical issues from cost of gym membership, childcare fees and finding regular childcare in the evenings and at weekends made it too expensive and difficult to organise.
Gym and Junior allows adults of all ages to exercise in a dedicated room, whilst their children have an active soft-play area immediately adjacent.
With this initiative Gym and Junior overcomes childcare as a barrier to exercise, thereby allowing parents to work out guilt-free without the expense of childcare. There will also be children's fitness equipment for the 3-7 year olds, who can exercise in a fun-filled way alongside their parents.
Gym and Junior membership includes free unlimited classes, access to equipment (both for adults and children) and a fully-visible play area for children. It also includes a shower and changing room with secure baby seats, baby essentials, breast-feeding kit, a spare clothes library and many other facilities for both parents and children.
The membership options are flexible, with the option to pay month to month, or for six or twelve month memberships, with no joining fee, so the costs are reasonable and offer good value for money.
Gym and Junior also offers a pay per class option to non-members, which allows people to have the option of trying out the facility without committing to a certain number of weeks, or a minimum membership.
Another barrier for parents exercising is the fact that some mums and dads can feel that gyms are competitive, and find it difficult to go because of the fact many gym designs include full length mirrors. For new mothers and pregnant women who may feel self-conscious about the way they look, this can be very off putting. Gym and Junior aims to promote a community feel, offering a very relaxed facility, which doesn’t have any mirrors in the exercise space, to try and combat these issues.
Gym and Junior offers women only classes during the week, which helps to facilitate for parents from BME backgrounds, especially the women who would be unable to attend a mixed-gender gym, and also for women who may feel uncomfortable about attending a mixed gym.
Zoe Lisa-Blackler from Gym and Junior said: “We’re thrilled to be able to offer this facility. When establishing Gym and Junior, we quickly realised that there was a real need for flexible, child friendly exercise facilities in Cardiff, and that there are currently many barriers in place which prevent parents from being able to go to the gym or attend classes.
“We have already had so much positive feedback about Gym and Junior, and we have seen membership numbers grow steadily since we opened. The project allows us to offer a solution to a very obvious and common problem, and it is this kind of innovative idea and flexible thinking that is going to help bring exercise facilities in Wales into the twenty first century.”
This story supports the following 2026 objectives:
Get 75% of young people and young adults hooked on sport
Positively target the participation gap within inequality