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Wellness app Urban launches one-to-one live streaming pop-up to support practitioners and isolated customers during the coronavirus outbreak

Wellness app Urban is launching a temporary online home for live-streamed, one-to-one fitness, physio, yoga and mindfulness, in response to the coronavirus outbreak. The service aims to support Urban’s community of self-employed, mobile practitioners, by providing them with a safe way to earn from home; and users an easy way to stay active and well.

Named ‘The stay at home club’, the new category on the app and urban.co features private, live-streamed classes and sessions including yoga, physiotherapy, mindfulness and personal training. Delivered by two-way video, the sessions range from 20 minutes to 55 minutes, and are conducted by qualified Urban professionals from their own homes.

As events relating to the coronavirus outbreak rapidly unfold in both the UK and France – the two countries where Urban currently operates – founders Jack Tang and Giles Williams are acutely aware of the impact they may have on the careers of 3500+ independent professionals.

“We saw the unprecedented measures Italy was prompted to take to limit the spread of the virus a week ago, and we knew it was time to act fast,” says Tang. “Since then, we’ve been working around the clock to come up with innovative ways to support practitioners – and the wellness of our customers – at a time when face-to-face contact is increasingly limited.”

Elsa Favario, head of community at Urban, says, “We are always transparent and upfront with our community of professionals. So we levelled with them, explaining that as a still-scaling start-up, we weren’t in the immediate position to offer the kind of financial guarantees some of the larger on-demand services have fronted. But Urban’s strength has always been our ability to innovate, fast, and since then we’ve worked around the clock, armed with suggestions from the community, to build something we really hope helps.

“At the same time, we’ve also begun exploring ways we can act fast to​ create a financial support fund for our self-employed partners and their businesses, and we’ll need our customer community’s help.​”

Services have been designed with the working from home experience in mind. “Working from home for an extended period has its challenges,” Tang explains. “Many people are going to become more familiar with them over the coming weeks, I think. Routine and self-care is more important than ever; things like morning meditation can really help calm anxious thoughts, while private fitness classes motivate you to stick to your training routine, even if it is at home.”

The pop-up launch comes off the back of Urban’s recent move into on-demand personal training

and yoga. The same qualified trainers who usually offer in-person sessions at Londoners homes’ will be able to deliver sessions via two-way video. That’s also the situation for fully qualified, HCPC-registered Urban physiotherapists, who will be able to support existing and new clients in rehabilitation, remotely.

Mindfulness sessions, meanwhile, have been crafted to tackle two key concerns for the unusual period we’re experiencing: anxiety and loneliness. Using evidence-based approaches, Urban mindfulness experts – who generally normally work on Urban’s B2B platform – will provide advice, techniques and companionship for calm and clarity at this uncertain time.

The stay at home club also gives multi-skilled practitioners another way to earn. Many of the practitioners who specialise in Urban’s most popular treatment, massage, also have secondary qualifications in yoga, mindfulness, personal training and more. Their skills, qualifications and DBS check are all verified when they join Urban, which makes the transition to new services both straight-forward for them, and trustworthy for customers.

Classes will start at £15 for a 20-minute meditation session, going up to £49 for a 55-minute physiotherapy session. 70% of all fees will go to the practitioner, and 100% of tips, something Urban hopes customers will embrace as a way to support the practitioners they usually see for massage, facials, beauty and more. Customers can try their first two live video sessions for an introductory offer of just £24 (practitioners still get their full rate).

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