Let’s head back to the Heslington West gym

Considering the original gym on Hes West is charging less than half the membership fees for the facilities I wanted, you might question why I use Hes East? Simply because the Hes West gym was never well-advertised. Too keen to promote their new venture, the University failed to give their students all the information they needed in order to make a fair and balanced judgment

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Believe it or not, one of my main reasons for applying to the University, was the promise of amazing gym facilities arriving in the very near future.

But so far, they’ve been a major disappointment. The problems lie in the fact that the gym on Hes East was never designed with students in mind. It has been built to make money, meaning that it needed to appeal to the larger, local population of York. To fulfill such a purpose, the ridiculous inflexible membership system exists.

Why am I paying for a swimming pool I’ll never use? Why can I not pay to participate in classes on a one off basis?

Considering the original gym on Hes West is charging less than half the membership fees for the facilities I wanted, you might question why I use Hes East?

Simply because the Hes West gym was never well-advertised. Too keen to promote their new venture, the University failed to give their students all the information they needed in order to make a fair and balanced judgment.

Not only is the pricing system not suited to the students, but the gym’s location limits its accessibility, especially before the bus routes were (sort of) finalised this term. Seemingly miles from even the Hes East campus, the location is close to inaccessible, unless you have a car. And let’s be honest – most of us don’t. We are instead limited to the buses, a bike, or – god forbid – our own two feet. Granted that cycling isn’t the end of the world, transporting yourself to and from the gym takes time that we don’t necessarily have to waste.

Balancing academic commitments, social lives, perhaps a job, sports, societies, and the gym leaves us with very little time for trekking out to the sticks. These transport issues limit the frequency of trips to the gym for some, and so we are not getting our money’s worth from the already inflexible membership.

The classes provided are not totally student friendly either; who on earth is going to beginners spinning at 7:15am on a Monday? Revs is calling my name, my friends.

There is also a dire lack of classes at the weekend, the time when we have the most time to spare. Both these problems need to be dealt with, especially the weekend classes.Even if the University wants to focus on the locals, surely they want to use the gym at the weekends more too?

And finally, as a member of a sports club who were promised certain facilities which never materialised, I am probably more disappointed than most. We were also not made aware of potential ways in which we could use the spaces and equipment that are available until we directly asked. In direct contrast to our situation, other clubs were provided with additional space due to their status as a BUCS sport and their success there. We too are a winning team, but not being a BUCS sport stops us being a priority for York Sport. Overall, the overpriced under-development does not provide for those who should be at the centre of its market. We are University of York students and this is, in part, a University of York facility.

These issues should be addressed, and I hope that eventually the problems will be ironed out. But I’ll be heading back to Hes West next year for definite.

They say you don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone, and not signing up to the no frills gym has definitely made me more grateful for the simple things in life.

11 comments

  1. 12 Feb ’13 at 6:58 pm

    Coach of a successful non BUCS club

    “Oh I’m going to go to York because they are great at BUCS” said no-one ever.

    York Sport needs to reconsider its priorities and look to fund sports clubs based on size, participation and costs.

    It’s ridiculous that a few special, select clubs (see development clubs on the York Sport Website) can receive free strength and conditioning support; extra funding and fantastic facilities, just because they earn a few more BUCS points.

    Other clubs (mine as an example) who are just as large, competitive and growing every year, see their funding cut; no benefit from the new facilities; are forced to fundraise thousands of pounds just to meet their basic costs; do not even have money to pay for coaching or equipment and yet still have to ask members to fork out hundreds of pounds in order to compete. All because their particular sport has yet to be included in BUCS.

    The benefits of increased funding in sport at York should be felt by everyone. Not just a select few.

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  2. I wholeheartedly agree with the main point of this article – The new Sports village is over-priced and anyone who keeps there membership there next year is a muppet. However, I have a few complaints….

    I find your issue with walking/cycling to the gym odd, given that the whole purpose of your visit is to get exercise. Your notion that it is somehow “the sticks” also irritates me and, I’m sure you are a lovely person and this is not the case, but it gives me the impression you are a spoiled little brat who has absolutely no idea of what life beyond the urban sprawl involves.

    I lost all respect for you and your argument as soon as you said a 7.15 session is ridiculous because you want to go to Revs (right after complaining you are short of time!!). Do whatever you want with your social life, but it is hardly the gym’s fault that you would rather dance the night away than go spinning. When do you propose they hold classes? Any other time either clashes with lectures or is even closer to the opening time of your precious club.

    I also find your reference to “the locals” carries a few negative connotations. Remember you are a guest in their city as it were, and we’d be the first to complain if they started making comments about “them students”.

    But I’m sorry for slagging off what you’ve taken this time to write, I wish I could still be bothered to write for the student media. Have a nice life and happy pancake day.

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  3. I agree with lots of the points that Grumpy has made. However, you also forgot to mention that one of the reasons the Sports Village seems to be targeted towards locals is because it was given a lot of local money.

    It is a joint venture with the City of York Council – despite what people may think the University doesn’t have £9million of it’s own money to solely burn on new facilities like these (if it did we might have something closer to the brilliant £20million sports centre that Lancaster have).

    I agree with the author that the membership system is inflexible and it could be a little closer (or at least the route less wind-exposed!) but I have a couple of other issues…

    You say the the Sport Centre (Hes West) is “charging less than half the membership fees” which isn’t strictly true – the Sports Village is £29/month whereas the Sports Centre is £15/month.

    Also, this paragraph brings a world of pain (and that’s excluding the typo on the last word – who proofed this article and indeed this whole edition? For shame, Nouse): “Simply because the Hes West gym was never well-advertised. Too keen to promote their new venture, the University failed to give their students all the information they needed in order to make a fair and balanced judgment.”

    At the beginning of term, all the leaflets I saw for the new Sports Village were presented next to leaflets for the old Sports Centre. Both leaflets were in the same style, extolling their particular features, and mentioning each other.

    Going for a widely offered tour at the Sports Village with some friends to make up my mind before joining, we actually talked to the staff, gave our needs, and in some cases were told that the Sports Centre would serve that person well enough and would be cheaper.

    Anyway, sorry to have turned this comment into a fairly pointless and way too long series of points, and thank you for raising the Sports Village/Centre debate at all!

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  4. Sorry can’t take you seriously if you’re moaning the gym is miles from the Hes East campus. It’s 5 mins walk (10 if you’re slow). Try cycling in from Fulford…

    As for moaning about 7:15 am classes, typical student myopia and ‘me-me-me-ism’ that stains the rest of this article. Not everything is about you. And many of us like having a swimming pool; just because you don’t use it doesn’t make it irrelevant.

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  5. Isn’t this the comments section of Nouse? Is the author not entitled to their opinions just as much as you?

    I happen to agree with the author; for a sports village that claims to be catered towards students (as well as the public), I might as well just walk to and from the A64, you can hardly call it ‘close’ to Hes West. It’s still a fair walk to Hes East especially in the torrential wind and rain that York is so used to. I am also in agreement about the classes, I wish there were more available at the weekend, and less early in the morning (I’m sure many students would agree that they would like to go to Revs AND beginners spinning, I don’t think the article is centred around the author at all but actually relates to a large number of students).

    As for ‘Anon’s’ comment about the author not wanting a swimming pool, I don’t think that they were criticizing the pool and those who use it… just asking for a wider variety of gym packages! There’s no need to attack someone’s opinions, and actually not everything is about you either.

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  6. I’m a little bewildered by these statements: ‘the location is close to inaccesible’, ‘transporting yourself to and from the gym takes time that we don’t necessarily have to waste’ and ‘trekking out to the sticks.’

    Fine, walking and cycling are a bit grim and a little like being thrown down a wind tunnel; hopefully once more trees and buildings spring up the route will be less apocalyptic. Most glaringly at odds with your grievances about inaccesibility, however, is that the Unibus (44) leaves from Hes West literally every 7-8 minutes, and is completely free- taking you all the way to the door of York Sport Village in about 5 minutes, and then back again… free of charge.

    So not really that inaccesible.

    It’s also a joint local-university venture, so whilst proximity to campus may ease accesibility for students, it’s not so great for locals who use the facilities same as us.

    And to be a pretentious dick, has anybody seen Woody Allen’s film ‘Annie Hall’? In the opening scene, the main character Albie tells the joke about two ladies sitting in a restaurant. One says ‘the food here is terrible’, and the other replies ‘and so small portions!’

    I say this because it does seem a little odd to complain that the Sports Village facilities aren’t what you’re after, whilst also complaining that those same facilities are hard to get to…

    As someone who uses the pool and spa stuff, as well at the gym, I’d say it’s a pretty good deal. £29/ month membership is roughly the same as going swimming 3 times a week with student concession and a York Card (£2.45 a trip), except with membership you get gym, spa, classes and better changing rooms and showers. As with most things, it would be great if it was cheaper, and perhaps more flexibility with what facilities you can use would be good for those committed to avoiding full membership. But if you’re not into the pool or spa, there’s no need to symbolically piss in them on the way out; just stick with Hes West gym if that fits you’re needs.

    Hes East ain’t so bad!

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  7. 15 Feb ’13 at 5:17 pm

    Wealthy student

    Why not just go to David Lloyd?

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  8. “The problems lie in the fact that the gym on Hes East was never designed with students in mind.”

    So they built it on the new university campus purely by accident, then?

    “who on earth is going to beginners spinning at 7:15am on a Monday? Revs is calling my name, my friends.”

    What were they thinking of, scheduling classes when you’ll be too sleepy/hungover to attend? Some people are just thoughtless.

    “Seemingly miles from even the Hes East campus, the location is close to inaccessible, unless you have a car.”

    You have a strange definition of “inaccessible”. It’s a five minute walk from the main Hes East campus, to which (free) buses run all the time.

    “We are instead limited to the buses, a bike, or – god forbid – our own two feet.”

    Let me get this straight – you’re complaining that you’ll have to physically exert yourself (not much) to get to a place where you’ll spend most of your time exercising?

    “Granted that cycling isn’t the end of the world, transporting yourself to and from the gym takes time that we don’t necessarily have to waste.”

    I know, students as a demographic have such harried and stressful lifestyles, getting up at the crack of dawn and all that (well, except on Mondays of course). It’s a wonder we cope, it really is.

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  9. You know what i’m really pissed off about? Since they extended the library, I have to use the navigation app on my phone (even worse, I have an iPhone 5!), and spend half my time navigating the endless stairs! Plus, the fines are so not fair to students – they’re blatantly out to make money, and why do I have to cross that pesky road to get there…why couldn’t they just knock down the old library and put the new one somewhere my cretinous arse can get to more easily, RIGHT?! Also, I really don’t see the point in those comfy chairs by the staircases…what’s the point in having access to the library built into my fees when it has facilities I’LL never use…especially Costa, £1.90 for an Americano…i’m a student you know!

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  10. “Isn’t this the comments section of Nouse? Is the author not entitled to their opinions just as much as you?”

    Just because you have an opinion about something, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s an insightful, reasonable, or particularly well-grounded opinion that is worthy of being shared with others.

    The author is certainly entitled to her opinions, some of which are well taken, while some others are unreasonable and laughably self-centered.

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  11. she has a point its just too far, especially for students living on Hes West or in Heslington, Fulford or anywhere that isn’t Badger Hill. I too have gone back to using the old gym on Hes West which is cheaper and just as functional.

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