Scotland

Scottish Slimmers cancels classes as it is put into liquidation

Woman wearing big jeans Image copyright Getty

Hundreds of people have had their dieting classes cancelled after Scottish Slimmers was put into liquidation by its owners.

Chief executive Amanda Boyle said the slimming club's network of classes had been suspended and members would not receive refunds.

She hopes to restart classes in future, following a social enterprise model.

The move affects 30 members of staff, including those in the Aberdeen headquarters, and class coaches.

However, members will be able to use the brand's online service, which is run by companies unaffected by the liquidation.

Image copyright Scottish Slimmers

The slimming club was founded in 1980 and had built a network of 140 classes across Scotland, where slimmers would come together to discuss their diets.

In addition to this, it also has an online subscription service which can either be used to supplement dieters' efforts outside of classes, or support those following the diet from home. This online service will still be available to members.

It also has a range of branded food, which is also not affected by the liquidation.

Ms Boyle said she took over the business in February 2018 but it had become clear that the structure of the business was unsustainable.

She said: "This has been an incredibly difficult decision to make as I know how much the network of classes means to our members and how our community of members has valued the support of their class coaches in their healthy living and weight loss programmes.

"We have found ourselves unable to rely on previous reporting and company data."

She added: "Despite an encouraging start to 2019, it has become impossible to sustain a model where the costs of running the class network are twice the level of the annual revenue generated by these classes.

"I sincerely hope that creating a social enterprise which meets a genuine need in many communities can successfully provide a class network of support for those who want to adopt a healthier eating habits and lifestyle.

"This should mean that following a short period where there will be no classes, members will be able to once again access the support and encouragement they have had from Scottish Slimmers."

Image copyright Thinkstock

Debra Henry, 47, of Aberdeenshire, has attended their classes for about 20 years. She told the BBC Scotland news website that she loses "the same couple of stone every time" she rejoins.

On Monday, she purchased an annual pass for the online services for £29.99. She planned to rejoin classes on Tuesday, in a bid to slim down ahead of her holiday to Florida in October.

She said she "wouldn't have bothered" purchasing the online subscription if she had realised the classes were being shut down. She said the "fantastic" class leader helped her diet, and that she had better success with Scottish Slimmers than with other dieting groups.

Although she will still be able to use the online service, she says she does not find it helpful unless she can have the support of a class with it.

She thinks she is lucky she had not already purchased a pass for attending classes too, or she would be further out of pocket.