Nino Severino: How the Waghorns are still helping athletes in Ipswich
In his latest column, Nino Severino discusses a new idea from the University of Suffolk Hub, and how an old friend from Ipswich Town is still helping athletes in the town.
My role as Director at The Hub, Centre of Excellence is developing way beyond any expectations that any of the team at the University of Suffolk initially had.
As each week goes by, and our reputation builds, The Hub is attracting an ever-growing list of elite athletes across Great Britain who are turning to our world class team of experts and specialists for the back room support they need.
This is fantastic news of course, but as any athlete would know, world class support is very expensive, which means an element of my role is focused on creating commercial income, attracting sponsors and raising funds.
I am very lucky to have some exceptional friends from the world of sport and celebrity, and even luckier that some are absolutely committed to supporting me in my role as chairman of The Elena Baltacha Foundation and Director of The Hub – both focused on trying to do good and help those in sport who just need that little bit of help.
As with any projects I am involved with, I have an incredible team, that are totally committed to our vision of basing ourselves in Ipswich, but having a national effect.
To do this I need the help and support of my friends. I am incredibly fortunate to include Leoni and Martyn Waghorn on this list – since we met in 2017, we instantly hit it off, and our friendship has got stronger as each month has passed.
I have to admit, it was a massive blow when Martyn got sold to Derby County Football Club, and left Ipswich to begin a new chapter in the family’s life. But we all promised, as many do, when life seperates close friends, to stay in touch and ensure that the close friendship we built, would not fall apart, but grow and strengthen.
In life, as many of us would have experienced, there are doers and talkers – and Leoni and Martyn are absolutely on the “doers” list! They promised me that they would stand by the commitment they made, to support not only my wife’s foundation, but also The Hub, and this is exactly what they have done, in fact, they have gone above and beyond.
I have built relationships with some very big brands in the sporting world, French Connection, Yonex and Bio-Synergy to name but a few.
The founder of Bio-Synergy, Daniel Herman, very kindly offered to create a product that The Hub could offer out to the world of health and fitness through social media.
We wanted it to be linked to health and fitness for the general population, with a fitness programme which would be offered free of charge with the product.
The product itself is called “The Hub Box”, and inside it is a high-quality range of nutritional products, fitness equipment and access to an online fitness programme for everyone.
So, we had our product, now we needed somebody to design and shoot the fitness programme – we needed someone who was highly skilled in creating fitness programmes, and had the ability to perform all the exercises, and of course possessed the confidence to get in front of the camera.
For me, this was a simple choice, I informed Daniel that I could call on Leoni!
It’s not widely known, but Leoni is a qualified fitness instructor, and in my humble opinion, a very talented professional in this field. The only problem, was the payment for this job role, there wasn’t any!
I had to ask Leoni if she would do this for The Hub, free of charge, as all profits would be donated to athletes who need support. I asked Leoni, and there was no hesitation, she agreed immediately, saying: “Martyn is an Ambassador of The Hub Nino, and I am a big supporter, so of course I will help”.
Now we had to find a photography company who would shoot all the programme, free of charge, and this is where Daniel, again, stepped up to the plate, he asked a contact from the filming world if he could help.
That professional is called Adrian Weinbrecht, and I can safely say that the skills he brought to this project are world-class. His company is called My Perfect Cousin, and he has filmed some of the most famous celebrities in the world.
So, the stage was set, we had The Hub Box, our fitness instructor and a world-class camera man, this was very exciting, and an unbelievable opportunity for The Hub.
As always, it was not as simple as that. Leoni now lives in Derby, and the shoot was taking place in London. I had to ask Leoni if should could make the commitment to travel into the city, with no payment, and at her cost, she agreed immediately, saying, “anything to help Nino”.
As they say – you get by, with a little help from your friends!