A mother and daughter team won a Witney Hero award for their supporting clients during lockdowns from their new ladies-only fitness and wellness centre.

A number of people in the town nominated manager Nicole Smith, 28, and her mum Sharon Buckingham for the awards launched by Witney Town Council to recognise community-spirited volunteers who have stepped up and supported the most vulnerable groups, less well-off and struggling small businesses during the pandemic.

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Ms Smith said: “We were so proud of this as we had worked hard over the two lockdowns to support ladies with their fitness by providing online classes for them to join in with.

“We also had an online demand page on Facebook which we could chat on and share information to keep everyone united.”

Ms Smith is a fitness instructor and personal trainer who went to Henry Box and then Abingdon and Witney College to study sport.

Director Mrs Buckingham did a degree at Bath University in Sports Massage seven years ago, which she now offers at their new Evo Fitness and Wellness Centre. 

The centre consists of a fitness studio with gym equipment and a full timetable of classes. Upstairs in the wellness centre they offer massage and beauty treatments plus a chill-out zone. 

Ms Smith said: “We are a fitness studio to encourage women to get fit and help with mental health in a non-intimidating environment.”

Ms Smith and her mum have now been working together for seven years and used to run Body Evo on the Windrush Industrial Estate.

Ms Smith said: “We had to leave there as they are knocking the building down, which wasn't great timing for us as it was in a middle of a pandemic, and I was in the middle of postponing my Cyprus wedding due to Covid.”

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Indoor fitness classes are due to start at the centre on Monday May 24.

Ms Smith said: “We do a popular class called Boogie Bounce, which the ladies love, and this is the first class that will be happening in our fitness studio.

"Due to the regulations, we can have limited numbers, but have ensured to keep the two-metre distance rule. Luckily as we have 5,000sq ft premises we can invite more ladies in at time than our old building.”

She added: “We stick to all to the Covid guidelines that the Government have put in place, to ensure a safe and clean environment.

"We have now also received a Covid guideline safe poster to place into our fitness studio from Witney Town Council to say we comply with all the rules and regulations for Covid."

The duo held an official, socially distanced, opening last Saturday with free gift bags and class demos, which was fully booked.

Ms Smith said: “We had a number of time slots during the day which ladies had booked on to to see our new premises. We got absolutely lovely reviews.”

Evo Fitness and Wellness Centre is based at Unit 12 on De Havilland Way business park.