Leisure centres in Leicestershire are set to offer free membership to children in care and care experienced young people from this month.
Selected centres run by award-winning operator Everyone Active are taking part in the new initiative to reduce the barriers between children and young people participating in sport and physical activity.
Those centres are:
- North West Leicestershire: Whitwick and Coalville Leisure Centre, Ashby Leisure Centre and Lido – run in partnership with North West Leicestershire District Council
- Melton: Waterfield Leisure Centre, Melton Sports Village – run in partnership with Melton Borough Council
- Harborough: Harborough Leisure Centre, Lutterworth Sports Centre – run in partnership with Harborough District Council
The free membership will give them access to a range of facilities depending on their age, including gym, swim, soft play and group exercise.
According to latest figures from the Department for Education for children looked after (CLA) in England, the number of children in care is at an all-time high, at more than 80,000 children or 67 in every 10,000.
This year, Everyone Active launched its national Community Health and Wellbeing Strategy, with the aim to meet the needs of individual communities through programmes that support people to be physically active, and to feel happy and healthy.
As part of the strategy, this membership will support children in care or care experienced young children with free access to leisure facilities that can help improve their physical health and mental wellbeing.
The complimentary membership for cared for children and care experienced young people can be accessed and set up through a referral system from local council family support teams.
Joe Warren, Everyone Active’s contract manager, said: “We are immensely proud to launch this partnership. We understand the vital role we play in supporting all areas of the community and feel this membership will make a real difference to many young people’s lives.
“We want to provide opportunities for young people and children who have been in or currently are in care, that activity is for all, and we want to offer them a safe space to enjoy our sports and activity offering.”
Cllr Simon Whelband, Harborough District Council’s portfolio holder for Wellbeing, said: “Physical activity and exercise is important as it assists good mental health by stimulating the body’s natural feel-good hormones which can make problems seem more manageable. We welcome this proactive initiative which supports both the physical and mental wellbeing of cared for children and care experienced young people across the Harborough district.”
For further information, visit: www.everyoneactive.com/about-us/what-we-offer/health-and-wellbeing/