Cricketer realises dream of creating sports and fitness centre

Mike Layfield.

A Richmondshire cricketer has realised his dream of creating an inclusive sports and fitness centre.

Mike Layfield opened his ML Sports and Fitness Centre on the Gallowfields Industrial Estate in Richmond three years ago.

Hundreds of people from all backgrounds are now using the indoor centre each week.

These activities include frame football for children with disabilities, walking football for those with limited mobility, mixed sports for soldiers supported by Help for Heroes and baby friendly sessions for new parents.

There’s also a state-of-the-art gym, classes such as spin and circuits, five-a-side league and one-to-one coaching.

Before opening the centre, 31-year-old Mike, who plays first team cricket and football for Richmond, had up until that point been delivering sports and PE sessions at 14 local primary schools.

He said: “I have always enjoyed working with the schools, but my ultimate ambition was to open a sports centre in Richmond which would enable me to offer the service I provide to an even wider group of people, providing a facility which is fully inclusive

“Sports coaching has always been key to what I do and through the centre I have been able to continue this whilst also enabling me to expand into the health and fitness side of things.”

Mike estimates he has invested around £100,000 in his sports centre over the last three years, including £40,000 he had saved up to enable him to get the project up and running.

By calling on his long list of contacts, he was able to call on electricians, plumbers and joiners to help him fit out the 8,000-square foot complex, which now includes an indoor football pitch, cricket nets, fully equipped gym, spinning studio, offices and showers.

He has also sub-let one of the rooms at ML Sports and Fitness to The Gait House, a sports injury clinic ran by Lisa McFadyen.

ML Sports and Fitness now has around 120 members who pay a monthly fee to use the gym, along with the hundreds of people who pay for sessions such as spinning, Pilates and circuit training and the other activities on offer at the facility.

Mike, who employs five people, added: “At any one time we can have people in doing weights, taking part in a class, playing football or receiving specialist 1-1 coaching in a range of sports, particularly cricket.

“We welcome adults and children and there’s something for everyone, regardless of their ability or personal circumstance.

“We’ve also built great links with local clubs such as Richmondshire Cricket Club, Richmond Town Football Club, Richmond Golf Club and Richmondshire Rugby Club, giving them somewhere to train 52 weeks of the year.”

“It’s been an exciting three years and I am looking forward to developing the club further and offering even more sports and fitness opportunities for local people in the coming years, as well as continuing to coach in the primary schools and provide school holiday coaching camps.