Holly Hutchinson and her business partner - Circus Strong

Circus Strong is a community organisation dedicated to providing friendly, judgment free aerial circus and fitness classes. They especially welcome the LGBTQ+ community and individuals who suffer from depression, loneliness and anxiety.

3 years
Cost of capital
Principal £27k interest £5,265
NA (Start-up)
Amount invested
Product type
Unsecured loan (incl. overdrafts)


In 2022, we know that across the UK, LGBTQ+ people and communities still experience an unacceptable amount of discrimination and marginalization. What’s particularly difficult is the mental health issues that often occur as a result of this bias towards people who are transitioning. There is also a lack of safe spaces where communities can come together, get fit and talk to like-minded people about their journeys thus far.   


Holly Hutchinson, Founder of Circus Strong, who has experienced judgement in traditional and “boring” gyms, decided to turn her passion for aerial circus into a business, in turn providing a safe space for LGBTQ+ communities in Ashbourne, Derby and beyond. Circus Strong has 5 key aims that guide them through everything they do: 

  • Ensuring the atmosphere is friendly, fun, safe, supportive and judgement free 
  • Actively welcome members of the LGBTQ+ community and people suffering with depressions/loneliness
  • Keep prices as low as possible to be affordable for all
  • Low-cost ways for professional aerialists to develop 
  • Offer a great area that provides the height and space needed to experience aerial arts properly


Circus Strong offer a diverse range of fitness classes, varying from Aerial Hoop to Bungeefit and everything in between. Classes are offered every day apart from Thursday and Sunday, and prices are kept affordable to ensure they are accessible to all.

They took on £35,000 in Blended Finance from Key Fund, which enabled them to acquire and renovate the property for which they operate from. The money was also used to purchase the necessary equipment to ensure they provide high-quality service to their customers. 


The social investment has enabled them to kickstart their organisation, providing a fantastic space for the communities they serve to learn new skills, get fit and socialise with others.   

“Trying to do something that would help reduce the discrimination against the LGBTQ community was always key to me. Getting to combine it with my passion for aerial circus and quit my old project management job was a dream come true. Knowing I’m helping others feel safe and build confidence genuinely brings a smile to my face every” 

Holly Hutchinson, Founder of Circus Strong

“It was a real pleasure to be able to support Holly and Circus Strong. They were at a crucial stage of their early development, moving into their own leased premises, and they made it easy for us to build a robust case for investment, due to Circus Strong’s tremendously impactful offer, their kind and considered approach, their many connections, and their excellent supporting documentation. A real pleasure!”

Rachel Veitch-Straw, Investment Manager at Key Fund