A 27-year-old dancer from Hartlepool has plenty of reason to celebrate after winning a double accolade.
Bethany Ainsley, who has been dancing for ten years, founded Peterlee-based Nouveau Fitness Community Interest Company. It offers fitness and dance classes across County Durham, including in areas with some of the highest levels of social and economic deprivation in the country.
The first accolade saw Nouveau Fitness receive a £15,000 cash prize from the Lloyds Banking Group Entrepreneurs Programme. It was the only one chosen in the North-East, and one of only 20 nationally.
The second accolade, the Future 50 Award, recognises Bethany as being among one of the UK’s 50 brightest young social entrepreneurs.
She said: “When I was teaching and studying dance at The Performance Academy, Newcastle College it reached a point where I either moved to London and became a professional dancer or stayed in the North-East to teach.
“After dipping my toe in, I realised that there was a huge need for local dance and fitness in County Durham.”
She said the national recognition was “hugely gratifying” and would spur everyone in the company on to continue promoting healthy lifestyles.”
Nouveau Fitness now has a 10-strong team of instructors and 1,000 students.
Its success extends further. For the last three years it has been part of the Move4Life programme which is a County Durham County Council Public Health and County Durham Sport initiative, which has successfully helped over 13,000 people at risk of cardio vascular disease and type 2 diabetes.
Andrew Power, strategic manager for physical activity for County Durham Sport said Nouveau Fitness had “played an important part” in improving the fitness of thousands of people.
He added the national recognition was “a fantastic achievement”.
Elaine Owen is the organiser of the Future 50 awards and the Future 100 programme, She said: “The future of our world is in the hands of individuals who are committed to generating commercial and ethical returns. We are profiling the ‘Future 50’ young entrepreneurs who are changing the face of everyday business and improve commerce’s impact on the wider world.”