Free sport sessions in Leeds set for October start
Free sport and fitness sessions are set to start in Leeds later this year in a new health project being run by the city council.
Leeds City Council’s sport and health pilot entitled ‘Leeds Let’s Get Active’, which aims to encourage people of all ages to be more physically active and especially those in areas of greatest health inequality, is set to begin in October pending the council’s executive board giving its approval next week (24 April).
The project received funding confirmation last month, with a total of £1million of match-funding being offered by Leeds public health and Sport England through the National Lottery.
The project will see one off-peak hour each day made available at every Leeds City Council-managed leisure centre in the city for free gym and swimming sessions. The sessions will be open to all but will be primarily targeted at those who currently do not take part in any sport or physical exercise.
In addition to the core one-hour offer, an additional hour will also be available at the John Charles Centre for Sport as well as Armley and Fearnville leisure centres, while at Middleton Leisure Centre a total of two hours of free activities will be on offer as part of the focus on tackling health inequality in the city.
Running alongside the free offer in leisure centres, community sport sessions such as running, walking and multi-sports activities will take place in parks, while packages offering three months’ of access to council leisure centre facilities and classes for just £5 will also be available via GP practices and public health service providers.
The scheme, which is set to initially run until March 2015, is to be managed jointly by Leeds City Council’s sport and active lifestyles service and the new public health services which were transferred from the former Leeds Primary Care Trust to the council this month.
Through ‘Leeds Let’s Get Active’ closer ties will be made between sport and health services, with links to health checks and advice on healthy lifestyles being offered. The scheme will be monitored to measure its success and impact, examining which sports and activities prove popular.
The project aims to increase participation and improve health and wellbeing as part of the drive for Leeds to be the best and most active big city in the country, and also represents an example of the legacy of the London 2012 Olympic Games and Paralympic Games for Leeds.
Leeds City Council executive member for health and wellbeing Councillor Lisa Mulherin said:
“Leeds Let’s Get Active is a fantastic example of the difference that use of the council's new public health role can make. It will give everyone in the city the chance to take part in regular exercise, from a swim or gym session to a simple organised walk in the park.
“The potential benefits of the scheme are enormous as it will help people get fitter, improve wellbeing and reduce the pressure on health services in the city, so we look forward to seeing it get started and packed sessions of people taking part.”
Leeds City Council executive member for leisure and skills Councillor Adam Ogilvie said:
“This new project offers people the chance to dramatically improve their health and wellbeing, so we are keen to get it started as quickly as possible.
“Leeds Let’s Get Active is a great example of our ‘best and most active’ city ambitions and it also provides a real Olympic legacy for Leeds as part of the drive to tackle health inequalities and improve wellbeing. We are very grateful to Sport England and the National Lottery for their invaluable support in turning this exciting idea into a reality.”
For media enquiries please contact:
Leeds City Council press office,
Tel 0113 247 5472