The Growth Impact Fund invests £55,000 in Living in Fitness to enhance well-being for older adults

9th April 2024



Image caption: Carl Davis, Founder of Living in Fitness.

A social enterprise which provides exercise classes for people aged 60 and over has received £55,000 in investment from the Growth Impact Fund (GIF). Founded by Carl David in 2016, Living in Fitness (LiF) encourages social connections, increases fitness levels and helps older people live independently for longer. In the past year LiF has worked with around 140 individuals weekly. The investment will help them scale and reach 470 individuals through their exercise classes in 2024.

Lulu, aged 65 years said:

“Joining Carl’s online morning classes three years ago has been a fun and easy way to get and stay fit for my husband and me: just showing up in the mornings for half an hour helps us both feel more flexible, gain muscle and strength, and it has given us the incentive to get out and move more in general. Carl is laid-back, sympathetic and friendly which is so refreshing. Joining the class long-term should be a fantastic preventative for the more serious disabilities of getting older and creakier as well.”

In the UK, 18% of the population is currently aged 65 and over, and the number of people aged 65-79 is predicted to increase by nearly 30% by 2070. Research suggests that NHS spending rises sharply after age 50, with the ‘85 and above’ bracket needing NHS spending of £7,000 a year on average, approximately seven times more than for the late-30s cohort.

People aged 65 and older have the highest risk of falling, with 30% of people older than 65 and 50% of people older than 80 falling at least once a year. In the UK, hip fractures make up 1.8 million hospital bed days and £1.1 billion in costs annually, excluding the cost of associated social care. Exercise has been shown to reduce the risk of falls in older people.

LIF is championing an effective way to keep the older population of the UK fit, healthy and more socially connected while benefiting society as a whole through reduced pressure on the NHS.

Carl Davis, CEO of LIF said:

“Exercise has always played a significant role in my life. It taught me valuable lessons in self-confidence, discipline, and goal setting. As a young black man, becoming aware of how the fitness industry didn't cater well to an older demographic led me to create Living in Fitness. My personal connection with exclusion from spaces and a lack of representation compelled me to make a difference for older adults who desired to become more active.”

The investment in the business makes LIF the first organisation to go through the Fund’s Technical Assistance (TA) programme and receive investment. The TA programme is unique to GIF, supporting its strategic objectives by building capacity in organisations founded by underserved entrepreneurs. As part of the initiative, LIF received £15,000 of grant funding in 2022 to prepare them for an application to GIF. This paid for consultants to support Carl in developing his model and growth plan and to free up Carl’s capacity so he could engage in the process.

Sarah Faber, Investment Director for the Fund, at Big Issue Invest, said:

“It’s fantastic to see Living in Fitness receiving investment from the Growth Impact Fund. We recognise that founders such as Carl are struggling against systemic racism and centuries of discrimination which have prevented capital flowing to them. The Technical Assistance fund is key to recognising those barriers and providing tailored support where needed, empowering the entrepreneur to access investment.”

Social enterprises interested in GIF can visit to learn more.

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