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How teamwork really did make the dream work

How teamwork really did make the dream work


25 Jun, 2021

This is the inspirational story of how Richard Harvey, with the support of ELCAS and Study Active, achieved his dream of qualifying as a personal trainer and opening his very own gym, The Hurt Locker Bridport …

Integrity. Pride. Desire. Bravery … Such core values are at the epicentre of many an institution’s ethos, and no more so than the British Army. So when it comes to looking after those who have served, it is testament indeed that it works so closely with ELCAS to support the next career moves of former Service personnel.

Spending 13 years as part of the same operation is no mean feat. Combine that with the battle-hardened requirements of the Army and it demonstrates the commitment and pure strength of character Richard Harvey possesses. It should come as no surprise, then, that he was sure of the path he wished to take on leaving the Armed Forces. For someone who ‘is really good with people’, this continued desire for engagement would prove a contributing factor to his next career move. 

With a vision to utilise his interpersonal skills and provide a service to his community, the flame burned bright within Richard to formalise his qualifications as a personal trainer with Study Active, one of the UK’s leading providers of fitness-related qualifications, ahead of opening his hybrid gym. This would not have been possible without the MoD’s amazing support via its ELC resettlement funding. 

‘Thanks to the number of years I served, I was allowed full access to the larger amount of ELCAS funding. This matched directly with the package I’d booked with Study Active, so I was able to study for its level 2 Fitness Instructing qualification and level 3 Personal Training, as well as some add-ons like exercise referral and training for pre- and post-natal clients too,’ says a grateful Richard. ‘It’s phenomenal, really.’

Overcoming challenges 

The saying ‘if a job is worth doing, it is worth doing well’ is popular for a reason. Passion and a desire to succeed exude from Richard, and any gauntlet that has been thrown down since his departure from the Army has been overcome with the same tenacity he applies to his 1.2m attack wall! 

‘I left the Army in February 2020. In March 2020, the world went into lockdown. I was therefore jobless because nobody was employing. I thought to myself, “I’ll crack on, focus and get some studying under my belt.” So, I did my research, discovered I needed to get a practical assessment, which I liked the idea of, and found a credible company, Study Active.’ 

Thanks to his ELC, Richard was able to progress on his journey, meeting COVID-19 restrictions with a can-do attitude, working at home on a detailed business plan while juggling the demands of family life. Accompanied by a continual thirst for learning and progression, and a steadfast approach, he whiled away the eight-month wait for planning permission for his gym, all the time ensuring everything would be ready to go when the green light was given. 

Confirmation duly came, and The Hurt Locker Bridport lease was signed on 1 April 2021, with the grand opening on 9 May.

A helping hand 

With the ink dry on the paperwork and the foundations literally set in stone, Richard can now reflect on what has been, and look to nurture his new venture safe in the knowledge that organisations such as the MoD, ELCAS and Study Active will always fly the flag for him and others like him. 

Study Active managing director, James Luscombe, is full of praise for the desire Richard has shown and the collaborative nature of the project: ‘I talk to people every day who have dreams of being personal trainers and opening their own gyms, and many do go on to do that. However, I can’t recall too many who have achieved gym ownership as quickly as Richard has. This is a real testament to his ambition. 

‘What Richard has achieved is exactly what the ELCAS process is all about. He identified something he wanted to do on leaving the Services and reached out to the MoD through the ELCAS scheme, which has supported him financially.’ 

The synergy of the organisations involved, together with the commendable work ethic demonstrated by Richard in fulfilling his dream, are factors not lost on James, who is delighted that Richard made contact with Study Active as his chosen reputable training provider.

‘We at Study Active align with the philosophy of the MoD and are proud to have signed the Armed Forces Covenant. We are not just about getting people like Richard signed up. There is a desire and willingness to help people on their journey, from that initial enquiry through to starting a course then graduating. We want to be there every step of the way and believe this approach to be consistent with the ethos of the Armed Forces Covenant.’

Not just a gym 

For any fitness aficionado, a look round Richard’s premises might make them feel like a child in a sweet shop. Incorporating session types and techniques learned on the job in the military, The Hurt Locker Bridport lists a grass runway, tractor tyres, sledgehammers and battle ropes on its inventory (with climbing ropes to follow).

‘People absolutely love it. The sign-up rate from those walking through the door is at 98%. I have this attack wall that ladies and gents have to jump over and then do a burpee. If they can’t get over the wall, they make sure they can get over the wall,’ says an enthusiastic Richard. ‘I am offering a hybrid gym. There’s functional fitness equipment and a weights area, although I have not included resistance machines.’

While serving, Richard became a level 2 qualified boxing coach and boxed for his regiment, with 10 bouts under his belt – life experiences he is rightly proud of and keen to share within his new business. ‘I will be running non-contact boxing skills and discipline classes in the future to teach this discipline.’

So, the next time you are in Bridport, Dorset, be sure to visit The Hurt Locker to see for yourself this real-life ‘boy done good’ story. You’ll be sure of a warm welcome.

Unlock the The Hurt Locker

Follow Richard’s new business venture on social: 
Instagram: @hurt_locker_bridport
Facebook: @HurtLockerBridport

For information on the courses offered by Study Active, visit