Leisure Card scheme is a success and a step towards better health

Research shows about a third had never previously used leisure centres
Research shows about a third had never previously used leisure centres

A scheme to help those on lower incomes access sports facilities.

Eighteen months ago, we introduced a Leisure Card scheme in the city to help those on lower incomes access our Freedom Leisure sports facilities at a discount.

Since then, almost 1,300 people in the Brighton and Hove area have signed up to take advantage of the 40% discount on a range of activities. The most popular facilities have been the swimming pools and the gyms.

The discount card scheme is means-tested and is open to people who are in receipt of certain benefits, including those with disabilities and looking for work.

Research has shown that about a third had not previously used leisure centres at all, but 90% now visit at least once a week. In total, they have made more than 34,000 visits to our six local leisure centres. Which is a huge step towards better health.

The scheme would not be possible without the support of Freedom Leisure, the social enterprise that provides these services at council-owned facilities.

freedom_leisure_logoCombined with the free swimming we provide for under-16s and the multi-million-pound refurbishment of Withdean Sports Complex, the city has better, more affordable sports facilities.

Not only does this improve the health of the city’s poorest residents, it also saves the city money in the long term by reducing future health costs.

According to the NHS, physical activity helps prevent many common major illnesses - including cutting the risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and cancer by up to 50%.

It is brilliant to see the Leisure Card scheme working so well and I encourage all residents who are eligible to take up this scheme.

To apply for a Leisure Card, visit your local leisure centre with personal identification such as a driver’s licence or passport, and the original benefit award letter or a bank statement from the last 12 months showing where the benefit is paid into.