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Worker Bee: Dr Jessicarr Moorhouse, physical activity champion for NW England


Through her brand TRIBE.MCR, Dr Jessicarr Moorhouse promotes a holistic attitude to health and wellness, factoring in mental and social benefits as well as the obvious physical ones.

As well as working part-time as a doctor for the NHS, she also runs regular group training sessions in the city alongside other events, like rave yoga classes and ‘primal play‘ experiences, cultivating a uniquely holistic approach to health and wellness.

A true advocate for preventative medicine, her sessions combine years of clinical experience and a firm scientific knowledge with a passion for movement to help individuals create real, sustainable lifestyle changes.

Since launching the brand last year, Dr Jessicarr has been named Best Professional in Business at the 2019 English Women’s Awards and been selected as Public Health England Physical Activity Champion for the North West of England, working closely with local healthcare providers Greater Manchester Moving, Greater Manchester Mental Health and GMCA.

She’s also teamed up with Sacha Lord, Greater Manchester’s night-time economy adviser, to offer free monthly group-training sessions free of charge to those who work in the sector as part of a bid to improve mental wellbeing in the industry.

It’s been a busy year for her. But she still found time to answer our 12 questions.

What got you started in your field of work?

I started my professional life as a physiotherapist and then went onto medical school to train as a doctor. I love medicine and feel very lucky to help and support people throughout all stages of their life. It does, however, carry great responsibility and for me, this started to lead to feelings of stress and anxiety at work. I had also become disillusioned by the reactive way in which we approach some medical conditions and the lack of focus on prevention.

So, in 2018 I took the decision to start working part-time and explore opportunities outside of medicine. I have always felt very passionate about movement and exercise, both personally and professionally. I wanted to learn more about the fitness industry and how this might be able to support my medical career. After completing my qualifications in personal training, I decided to launch my own brand: TRIBE.MCR.

I could see a clear need to create a community, a tribe, which was open and accessible to everyone. Not just if you wear fancy gym clothes, or if you have “abs”, or just during “summer body” season. What started as a dream, is now a reality and I am so proud to work with some fantastic people in their health and fitness journeys.

Who have been your biggest influences?

I have grown up having the confidence to try new things, not to be the best but to make a difference, however small or large that is.

In the medical world, I am inspired by my patients who have made changes to their lifestyle and now lead healthier and happier lives. Now as a stand-alone female founder, I am inspired by a multitude of women across our city.

There are too many to name here, but I someone who has inspired me is Kim O’Brien, operations director at The Warehouse Project. We have worked together, alongside Sacha Lord and the Night Time Economy Advisory Panel to host fitness sessions for workers in the Night-Time Economy. Kim’s strong and ambitious character is complemented by her encouraging nature and passion for helping others. She’s also a great training buddy.

Sacha Lord has also been a huge influence on me. His willingness to support me and the brand in its early stages reflects his passion for helping others and doing good. I hope to be a role model for young founders in the future, and for those people who might be thinking about going west and starting a side project.

What is your proudest achievement so far?

I have recently been appointed as the Public Health England Physical Activity Clinical Champion for North West of England. I have had my eyes on this role for a number of years but never expected to get the job until a few years down the line. This role will see my acting as a key educator for healthcare professionals across our region and I cannot wait. It is the perfect reflection of intersection between my careers in medicine and the fitness industry and I hope this will open more doors within healthcare commissioning and public health.

If I can have two achievements, I am also very proud of Shake Your Soul, a project that myself, Madeleine Penfold and Alice Woods have curated. With different backgrounds in health, fitness, yoga, creativity and music, we have been drawn together by our synergistic desire to create open and positive environments to move, let go and have fun in. Shake Your Soul is a unique experience of feel good movement and yoga flow with a live DJ.

What does a typical day involve?

My week is split between working as a doctor and with TRIBE.MCR. You can find me working with personal training clients in the parks, going into organisations to host Lunch and Learns and working with local charities such as Manchester Cares. I feel very lucky not to have a typical day, as this was my initial motivation for taking a step back from full time medicine.

How do you relax on your days off?

Exercise has always been a way to achieve some headspace. That being said, now that exercise forms the basis of my job, it can be tricky to achieve full “switch off” mode. I love getting out of the city and into the wild, whether that’s going on hikes, or wild swimming in lakes! I am also a huge dance music fan and also enjoy spending time dancing with friends.

What is the best advice you’ve ever been given?

I vividly remember some advice that Madeleine Penfold gave me, right back when we worked on the original content for TRIBE.MCR. At that point, my vision was just a dream and I could barely vocalise my aspirations for the brand. She told me to talk about what you are doing as much as possible, to gain confidence in yourself and what you are trying to achieve.

If things hadn’t worked out, what else could you have seen yourself doing?

I am very lucky that if TRIBE.MCR doesn’t work out, I can go back to being a full-time doctor. I also toy with the idea of working in healthcare management or even politics but let’s stick to the current plan.

Tell us one thing about yourself people might be surprised to hear?

When I talk about my experiences of stress and anxiety at work, a lot of people are surprised and tell me that I seem so calm. As a doctor, I had learned to hide my own feelings and to appear as though I had everything under control. This is what got me into trouble and is now why I talk about my experiences.

It is so easy to be a high functioning person with anxiety. Your “busy” and “ambitious” persona often masks mental health symptoms and can make it very difficult to say “I am not ok!”

Red or Blue?

Red. I remember wanting to be David Beckham as a young child, and hoping to meet him when my school visited Old Trafford. Unfortunately, this did not happen.

Name your three favourite places in Manchester

Fletcher Moss Gardens in Didsbury. I have spent so many walks here, along the beautiful tree lined paths. St Peter’s Square – we have shot lots of TRIBE.MCR content here and I love the contrast of old and new buildings and the buzz of the people and trams. And the drive back into Manchester from the Peaks is pretty spectacular, especially with the evolving skyline.

If you could change one thing about Manchester, what would it be?

We need more parks! Green space is so important for our physical and mental health. Manchester is growing in size and height and it is vital that we respect the human need to connect with nature. If there is a role going for Manchester Park Ambassador, I am in!

And finally, what do you love most about Manchester?

I love the spirit of Manchester, the work ethic that so many of us have and our desire to lead and make change. I feel so lucky to be part of the health and wellbeing community which is based on collaboration, rather than competition.

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