Created 4th May 2023

A GYM business set up by three successful fitness entrepreneurs has agreed to take up space at one of the region’s newest office developments.

The Cell, set up by fitness entrepreneurs Jennie Moyse, Brent Gilpin and Holly McBride Donaldson, has agreed to take space at The Yard at Riverside Sunderland.

The deal would see the gym move into the basement of the former Gilbridge Police Station in the heart of Sunderland city centre, just a stone’s throw from City Hall.

The Cell will be Jennie and Holly’s second business venture together, having taken over the award-winning female-only gym, Club Zest, on Fulwell’s Sea Road seven years ago.

It will be the pair’s first foray into the city centre, and while it will be inclusive for all genders, it will offer the same fully equipped offering and classes that have seen Club Zest win multiple awards.

Brent Gilpin, joining Jennie and Holly on their latest venture, has already worked with the pair in the past through his successful physio business, Finding Function, which is based within the Club Zest gym. He will be teaching sessions at The Cell and creating a ‘Restore’ facility offering physio treatments, sports massages and wellness support.

Holly said: “We are so delighted to have agreed terms to open a new studio here at The Yard alongside Brent. When we took over Zest, we did so with the ambition of creating a successful business model that we could go on to expand so to see this dream beginning to come to life is such a proud moment for us.”

The trio had been contemplating the idea of launching a new venture for some time but it wasn’t until they were given a tour of The Yard that they decided to make The Cell a reality.

She added: “We immediately knew The Yard was the perfect base for us as it will offer a safe space for people of all genders to come together in a supportive and motivating environment where people feel empowered to reach their health and wellness goals.

“It’s also slap bang in the heart of the city centre and just a stone’s throw from bus and Metro routes, so it just made perfect sense.”

Based on the edge of the ever-transforming Riverside Sunderland site, The Yard is the result of a £3.5million investment by local developer Hanro Group to lovingly restore the Brutalist building.

Laura Lloyd, who is leading development on behalf of Hanro, said: “The Yard is more than just a building - it’s a symbol of Sunderland’s history and identity.

“We’re proud to have invested in its restoration and to have created a modern, vibrant space that will serve as a hub for the community, and we are delighted that The Cell will hopefully be joining us on this journey.

“Jennie and Holly are two fantastic entrepreneurs who have built a really successful, community business and we are thrilled that they have chosen to join us at The Yard. We can’t wait until they are up and running.”

Suites in The Yard are being marketed by leading northern property expert Bradley Hall and are available from 500sq ft – 20,000sq ft and the agency is excited to announce there will be more businesses to follow in The Cell’s footsteps over the coming weeks and months.

Helen Wall, Sunderland director at Bradley Hall, said: “The Cell is a fantastic business which I’m sure will really add to the community the Hanro team are hoping to establish at The Yard.

“The fitness studio will be a perfect offering for neighbouring occupiers within Riverside Sunderland and the wider community with memberships open to all. With its central location, excellent transport links, and range of amenities, it really is the perfect location for businesses seeking to grow and thrive.”

For more information on The Yard, visit:

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