'It's the birth of the new town centre' - official opening of new MMA gym
PUBLISHED: 11:18 05 November 2018 | UPDATED: 11:19 05 November 2018
The official opening of a martial arts gym and fitness centre has heralded in a new age for Lowestoft town centre, according to councillors.
Deputy mayor Peter Knight was on hand to cut the ribbon and welcome Ruckus MMA and Fitness Gym to London Road North on Saturday, November 3.
Mr Knight said: “When a business is ready to welcome the public it’s nice to make it formal, to make it big and to make it loud.
“Everyone needs to know that this is a great place to learn and skills and place to effectively become a whole new person.
“It’s the birth of the new town centre. A town centre that isn’t about things you can buy off the internet.
“It’s about people, it’s about life skills, and it’s about warm cups of coffee. It’s about all the things that you can’t get delivered over the internet.
“Ruckus brings with it personal fitness, it brings with it getting people out of their shells and making people more confident in their surroundings.
“People want to be healthier fitter and more confident in their surroundings. People coming out of here are better people than when they went in.”
Giles Barr-Thomson opened the gym last month to cap off a tremendous comeback from the father-of-six who, seven years ago, was homeless and trapped in the cycle of poverty.
He said: “I’m humbled by the fact that I’ve come back to where I used to live and go to school and that instructors have chosen to come over to train here.
“The footfall here is very good and we think it’s a good opportunity.”
The 39-year-old from Gorleston explained why the skills of self-defence are so important for youngsters to learn, especially given the rising level of violence in Lowestoft.
Between January and August this year there have been 2,026 violent and sexual offences reported in the town - a 4.5pc increase from the same period last year.
Mr Barr-Thomson added: “It’s something which is needed. They come here, they are not getting hurt, they are learning how to talk themselves out of a bad situation and find an exit.”