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Images: Brent Gilpin and Holly McBride-Donaldson, Directors at The Cell.

New gym opens in former Gilbridge Police Station

A brand-new gym has opened this week in Sunderland’s former Gilbridge Police Station, promising a unique take on fitness and wellness.

Set up by entrepreneurs Holly McBride-Donaldson, Jennie Moyse and Brent Gilpin, the class-based gym is named The Cell and is in the basement of the former police headquarters, which is now a stylish office block called The Yard.

The Cell offers over 25 expert-led fitness classes each week including spinning, bootcamps, yoga and Pilates, with express lunchtime sessions ideal for those working in and around the transforming Riverside Sunderland site.

Holly and Jenny also run Club Zest together, an award-winning female-only gym on Sea Road in Fulwell, where their business partner for The Cell, Brent Gilpin, runs his successful physio business, Finding Function.

The trio had wanted to launch a new venture which takes a holistic approach to fitness, incorporating classes and workshops which reframe the ideals of physicality and work towards overall wellness.

Holly said: “We’re so excited to have opened in The Yard and in the city centre where so much exciting development is taking place.


“The Cell is inclusive of all genders, and we offer bespoke fitness classes for people who want to reconnect and be part of a friendly community that champions one another. We also have Brent offering physio treatments, sports massages and wellness support, and there will be a variety of workshops available to attend on the weekends.”

The boutique health and fitness hub are offering commercial memberships to businesses based in the city to support a healthier workforce and enable colleagues to access classes together. This month, it is offering businesses that sign up with over 20 employees two free sessions in wellness and stress management throughout the year.

“We all know that good fitness and wellness can help to reduce stress and boost mood, which is why we want to encourage local businesses to support employees to get involved with The Cell and our flexible classes throughout the day. Our express lunchtime classes are perfect for those with busy lifestyles who work in the city centre,” added Holly.

The Cell is being supported by Sunderland City Council’s Business Investment Team.

Cllr Kevin Johnston, dynamic city cabinet member for Sunderland City Council, said: “The Cell is perfectly located to support the health and wellbeing of the growing workforce at Riverside Sunderland, and given the work the team already do at Club Zest, I’m confident they will make a real positive difference to our transforming city centre.


“As well as being based in a fantastic new office building, The Cell is just a stone’s throw from City Hall, The Beam and ongoing developments including Maker & Faber, the new Eye Hospital, and the Vaux neighbourhood. It’s a really exciting location for new and established businesses to come and grow.”

To learn more about Sunderland as a place to do business, visit: https://www.mysunderland.co.uk/business-and-investment