Creating Affordable Leisure Provision

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One of the barriers to being physically active can often be the cost, particularly at a time when the cost of living is rising. Exploring ways to reduce such inequalities is a high priority for Active Calderdale particularly when concerning our priority groups. With this in mind, Active Calderdale is supporting Calderdale Council Leisure Services to provide free leisure passes to 100 users from four organisations (St Augustine’s, Noah’s Ark, ReEngage and the Women’s Centre) within Calderdale. The leisure passes allow access to all the borough’s leisure facilities which are mainly based at the three leisure centres. The Leisure Service is also exploring additional access to provision based within local communities, the first being at Calderdale College. 

The four local organisations that were identified, all have a wide variety of service users and high representation among our priority groups: 

Initially, 100 passes have been shared between the organisations, who were tasked with identifying those with a desire to take part in this type of activity. Once this was established, the users were registered at one of the leisure centres for 6-months.

This test case allows users to access the facilities and explore their interests and in turn, Leisure Services can assess take up, usage, and further interest in continuing once the free pass duration has ended. Active Calderdale will provide support with an affordability survey to explore the genuine affordability of access to these facilities for the users’ long term. Leisure Services have also signed up to support a change in their monthly fees to encourage membership takeup. 

Karen Beazley from Leisure Services has been key to establishing the processes with the organisations and ensuring the leisure centre staff are equipped to welcome these new members. 

Colleagues in Leisure Services have enjoyed welcoming these new users whilst providing support with registration and helping anyone with specific needs. Staff from both the leisure centres and the 4 organisations have expressed clear enthusiasm to be involved in this initiative, which has resulted in further collaboration, including Sowerby Bridge now offering a drop-off point for charitable donations.

As the remainder of the free passes are allocated, data will continue to be collected, analysed and collated with feedback from staff, the organisations and the users. The latest feedback from the participants at St Augustine's can be seen below.

The affordability survey will be used to assess the true affordability for users from each organisation in order that a reasonable cost can be implemented for those who cannot afford the normal membership fees. Active Calderdale will continue to work alongside Leisure Services to ensure increased inclusivity and greater well being within our borough.

To learn more about the leisure facilities available in your area and the memberships available from Calderdale Leisure Services visit: https://www.calderdale.gov.uk/v2/sports-and-fitness.