National award for fitness group set up for mums

A WOKING business has won a national award in a category that attracted 300 entries.

FunMumsFitness, a workout group built around children, was named Small Business of the Year in the Family Network awards.

A FunMumsFitness class before the coronavirus restrictions

Dora Szentivanyi, who set up the business, saw the announcement when she logged on to the virtual ceremony online in her car during a coffee break.

“I started crying and went back into the gym and my clients said, ‘is everything OK?’ I told them ‘it’s happy crying’ and then told them the news,” Dora said.

The Small Business of the Year category, for firms with fewer than five staff, was sponsored by Sophia Pregnancy Loss Support.

The News & Mail reported in January that FunMumsFitness had been selected as one of the six finalists for a black-tie ceremony that was scheduled for March.

When the pandemic hit Britain, the awards ceremony was postponed to this month, and then converted into an online event.

Dora Szentivanyi

Dora and her business partner Emese Flick had bought evening wear for the event.

“In the end, I heard the announcement sitting in my car in my leggings and sports bra,” Dora said.

Earlier this year Dora moved to Devon with her husband Soma Varga and their children Teego, 5, and Pixie, 3.

Soma was the co-owner of Rino’s Restomod Barbershop in Woking town centre, but that closed during the coronavirus restrictions.

Dora was able to continue FunMumsFitness through Zoom classes. When the restrictions were eased, live classes resumed in Woking and Guildford, mostly run by Emese, with new classes in Colyton, Devon, run by Dora, who also commutes to Surrey to lead classes.

She said there was still demand for some Zoom classes and these are continuing alongside the live workouts.

“It was a good opportunity to show mums that it does work online. You don’t get quite the same level of community but it does allow mums to exercise from home without having to drive and get the kids in and out of the car,” Dora said.

The live classes have to observe social distancing between mums but the “rule of six” doesn’t apply to group exercise, so more than that number can take part if space allows.

Dora said she is planning further expansion to FunMumsFitness, which she hopes to announce soon.

She began FunMumsFitness about two years ago, to provide a safe environment for young children so that their mothers can exercise.

Emese Flick

“I always say that motherhood is rewarding, it’s the best thing in the world, but it is hard and challenging too.

“It’s very easy for new mothers to feel lonely and isolated, and we want to offer them the chance to meet up and have a chat over coffee.

“The award means a lot to me and to FunMumsFitness. It’s always a nice feeling when your hard work and dedication gets noticed and rewarded, but when it’s by an organisation that is run by mums and based on mums and dads, who all know how hard it is to juggle family life and business, it is even more heart-warming. 

“I’m very lucky because I’m surrounded by motivating women. During my journey with FunMumsFitness I have come across some exceptional women who have had a huge impact on my business and me.

“I have even become very close friends with a few of the mums from my classes.”

The Family Network has 13 branches and some 27,000 members in the UK. It supports parents in business with free networking events and affordable workshops. There is no charge for membership.

This is the seventh year of its National Business awards, which recognise hard-working families across the country.

Entry to the awards is by public nomination, and Victoria Alcock, a director of the Family Network, was impressed by the response to FunMumsFitness. “It stood out by the number of nominations and testimonials,” she said.

“We look for detail about the business; what makes it stand out,” Victoria added.

For more information, visit www.funmumsfitness.co.uk or www.thefamilynetwork.net.

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