THE STORY OF MELLISH
Like all good things, we started out small and independent.
It all started back in 1993.
A local Bulwellian named Richard 'Richo' McDonald (1970-2021) started operating his own gym out of a derelict shed at the back of a community centre in the middle of Bulwell.
From the very beginning, the gym was more like a friend's meeting place than a formal gym, and people - regardless of background - came after a long day's graft to train. At a time when there was plenty of division and mistrust in the local area, the gym had a strict 'every postcode welcome' policy, and all members were 'under manners' upon entry.
FROM STRENGTH TO STRENGTH
After years of ambiguity and struggle, the gym (now known as 'Community Based Fitness' or 'CBF') finally moved into an old community centre, and began to professionalise: actually keeping track of memberships, payments, and seeking more formidable funding and support for the council.
The gym began to become renowned for keeping young people off the street and away from negative influence, as Richard knew all-too-well the dangers of a lack of opportunity.
PASSING THE BATON
Eventually Richo stepped back from active leadership of CBF, and Tarq (pictured) came in to guide the gym in a new direction. in 2014 the gym found it's new and current home in the Mellish Sports Centre, and the two merged into the one and the same, while offering much more than richo would have ever dreamed from his little Bulwell shed.
People have often debated whether the name is 'Mellish', 'The Mellish', 'CBF', etc: we are now the Mellish Sports Centre and our tagline is 'Community Based Fitness', which keeps Richo's original ethos alive in our brand today.
FRESH LEADERSHIP AND A FRESH VISION
In recent times Mellish Sports Centre has supercharged its way into the future under the leadership of Jo Dexter, who has come on as the centre manager.
Pictured second from the left in the photo opposite (sitting next to Shadow Minister for Levelling Up, Alex Norris MP), Jo has overseen the redefining of our strategic vision to ensure long-term financial independence, commercial competitiveness, and constant development of our brand and offer to the community.
A STRONGER BRAND IDENTITY
The Mellish Sports Centre Board of Directors worked tirelessly throughout 2021 to redesign the brand of the centre: trying to create a new fresh image for our members while retaining that fierce independence and charm that has kept us successful since 1993.
REMEMBERING WHERE WE COME FROM
Richo is in the roots
In memory of Richo who died in January 2021, we have renamed the gym within the Mellish Sports centre the 'Richard McDonald Fitness Suite', so that he can keep an eye on everyone who walks in, make sure they pay their subs, and put back their weights.
Richo's son, Risteard (Rish) joined the Board of Directors as a continuation of his father's legacy and to keep the family link to the centre.
THE FUTURE: MELLISH 2025
Mellish 2025 is a strategy to take Mellish into the future. With 5 pillars and oversight from board members, Mellish 2025 gives us an outcomes-focussed path to make Mellish the best community centre in Nottingham.
So that's the story of the Mellish sports centre until now, and we intend to become bigger and brighter with each year. One thing about the future is certain: our community will always be front and centre in every decision we make, because that's the ethos of Community-Based Fitness.
So please - if you like where we've come from, what we've been through, and who we are - come down and have a chat to our staff and sign up for a membership.
Supporting your local independent community centres has never been more important.