Partnership paves way to year of growth at Tailored Leisure Company

Tara Johnson from Tailored Leisure Co with her client Jane Bray (grey jumper) join Get Out, Get Active (GOGA) Programme Coordinator, Dominic Oliver and his colleague Jade Gilbertson at the Beacon of Light in Sunderland Picture: DAVID WOOD

Tailored Leisure Company’s (TLC) and their award-winning formula for accessible fitness sessions have benefited from phenomenal growth in 2021, with the team proving to be just the right match for a host of partners including the Foundation of Light, Sunderland City Council and Headway Wearside.

Based in South Tyneside, TLC is a client led Social Enterprise making a stand for access in the North East and was launched by Director, Tara Johnson, due to her own experiences of living with cerebral palsy. A winner at the recent Sunderland Echo Portfolio Business Awards 2021 for Corporate Social Responsibility, sponsored by Bradley Hall and a recent PNE Social Impact Award winner 2021, alongside Finalist for the Entrepreneur of the Year at the Best of South Tyneside Awards (postponed to April 2022), Tara has been a key driving force in developing accessible projects across the region.

Tara Johnson, Founder and Director said:

“Partnership has been a key element of our growth over the last year, the amount of new project partnerships in 2021 have been truly phenomenal and have proven there is a strong demand and gap in the market for our services.

This time last year was a very uncertain time for the company, but our determination and commitment to the accessible fitness formula has paid off substantially. 2021 was just the tip of the iceberg for the company and we have so many exciting projects and developments in the pipeline, we really can’t wait to announce these shortly and see the social impact created.”

The team are committed to developing accessible opportunities to get fit, have fun and relax with as little stress as possible and are passionate about overcoming the barriers and social exclusion faced by disabled people. Led by regional research they attracted the attention of numerous national funders over the year to run a host of accessible fitness projects, many of which virtually.

2021 saw TLC announce funding success and a new delivery partnership with the Foundation of Light, the official charity of Sunderland AFC having successfully grown the initial Sit to be Fit concept into an even larger scale community engagement project, supporting participants to access the tailored fitness support through the GOGA Sit to Be Fit in the Community project.

Funding success with Sunderland City Council followed as a result of a call out for innovative projects to support the city to reduce health inequalities and to support residents to improve their health and wellbeing. The funding secured has seen the THEE Club (Tailored Leisure and Headway Wearside, Education and Exercise) launch which runs in partnership with Headway Wearside, and uses a variety of methods to engage residents and organisations, with a focus on improving health and wellbeing.

The community and virtual fitness programmes run alongside a continued funding drive to raise £1.5 million for the development of an innovative, one-of-a- kind accessible short break holiday and leisure complex, the ‘Butterfly of the North’, which also saw the inspirational founder (Tara Johnson) stand for the first time in over 20 years to raise vital funds towards the endeavour.

Tara added:

“Following the success of Sit to Be Fit at home which we launched via zoom during lockdown, we are delighted to have further rolled this programme out into the community thanks to the funding secured.

We have also expanded our team further through the kickstart scheme, plus we have several opportunities for volunteers to join the team as we roll out and grow the projects. As we move on an upward trajectory, we’d also be delighted to speak with local businesses who can support us on our journey and with the aim of developing the vital Butterfly of the North complex.

Businesses can back the campaign and take advantage of our corporate sponsorship packages to help the complex take flight in 2022. The new complex will support so many and unlock barriers to short breaks and leisure services that families across the North East face on a daily basis, and which is needed even more than ever post Covid-19.”

Virtual and community-based fitness sessions will be restarting in January 2022, to find out more and to register visit

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