A WEE COUNTY personal trainer is set to launch a private gym in the new year as a place where people can exercise without feeling intimidated.

As previously reported in the Advertiser, Dan Hancock launched an initiative where he offered free sessions to people with mental health difficulties after finding that many clients lacked confidence due to deeper meanings.

Since April when he launched it, Dan has been inundated with people who credit him with turning their lives around thanks to his mindful and confidence-building approach to working out.

Following a conversation with girlfriend Amy, Dan, who lives in Alloa, has now signed the lease on a property which he is transforming into a private gym where people can work out in a more intimate and relaxed setting.

Further to that, Dan has launched it under the name MINDfit, a community interest company, meaning it can apply for the same government funding as a charity so he can help more people than before.

He told the Advertiser: "Things have been good. We didn't know what the uptake would be from the initiative but it has been good.

"To this day people are saying they read the story in the Advertiser, but it has taken them this long to get the courage to get in touch."

Among the many people Dan works with, he cites those who struggled to even leave the house but are now confident at starting conversations as the reason why he has chosen to further the initiative and open up his own gym.

"There are people who are doing well on a daily basis," said Dan. "I talk with them on a weekly basis but thought there must be more that I could do. It will be a PT gym but also a private gym for who are intimidated by a public gym with guys throwing big weights about.

"It is a niche and a gap in the market. It's ironic because exercise is so helpful for mental health but gyms are so intimidating for some people."

Dan is also developing an app which clients with memberships to the gym, which will start at £15 per month, can use to book a slot in the centre with a cap on how many people can be in at once, ensuring that it is intimate and keeps its privacy.

One-to-one sessions will also be available with Dan, as will classes where people can begin to interact with like-minded individuals with mental health difficulties.

The gym is expected to open in January at the Stirling Enterprise Park.

If anyone is interested in working with Dan, or is looking to find out more information about his services, contact him on danhancockfitness@yahoo.com