A GYM chain with two fitness centres in the city has called on the Government to provide extra financial support to the industry.

The call comes as data from Google shows a 66 per cent fall in the number of recreation and retail trips made by people in Bradford in the past six weeks.

Rebecca Passmore, UK managing director of PureGym, said Covid has had a "devastating impact" on gyms and fitness centres, which are "essential community assests".

PureGym has two sites in Bradford, one at Enterprise 5 Retail Park in Idle, and the other at Gallagher Leisure Park off Dick Lane in Thornbury.

Ms Passmore was speaking to members of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee when she said the health and leisure sector needs more targeted financial support from Government.

She said: “Covid has had an absolutely devastating effect.

“It’s had a significant impact on us economically, to the industry as a whole, but there is also a huge social impact to our members.

“Gyms are an essential community asset – there is a huge health dividend which they bestow through maintaining strong physical and mental health.

“What we are looking for as a sector is specific, targeted support that will make an impact to operators, particularly the smaller operators who aren’t as stable as us as a business.”

She added that while PureGym should survive the "economic long Covid" caused by the pandemic, but had fears community and independent gyms will fold due to loss of income, leaving fewer places for people to go to improve their physical and mental health.

This comes as the latest data from Google's Covid-19 Community Mobility Report for Bradford district showed a huge drop off in movement around the district from November 27 to January 8.

It recorded a 66 per cent fall from the average baseline figure for visits to retail and recreation, which included gym visits as well as trips to shopping centres, cafés, libraries, museums and more.

Huw Edwards, chief executive of not-for-profit body UK Active, said no income and the loss of January trading - when new memberships go up 30 per cent - is a "perfect storm" and requires "urgent financial intervention" from Government before lockdown is eased.

He added that prioritising people's phyiscal and mental health must be at the heart of the recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic, particularly for people from lower-income backgrounds who have been disproportionately affected.