Chichester District leisure centres set to launch free membership for children in care and care experienced young people

Leisure centres in the Chichester district are set to offer free membership to children in care and care experienced young people from this month.

Leisure centres in the Chichester district are set to offer free membership to children in care and care experienced young people from this month.
Leisure centres in the Chichester district are set to offer free membership to children in care and care experienced young people from this month.

Westgate Leisure Centre, Bourne Leisure Centre and The Grange Community and Leisure Centre, run by award-winning operator Everyone Active in partnership with Chichester District Council, are taking part in the new initiative to reduce the barriers between children and young people participating in sport and physical activity.

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.

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    This year, Everyone Active has 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 people 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.

    Stuart Mills, Everyone Active’s area contract manager, said: “We are immensely proud to launch this partnership in Chichester. 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.”

    Councillor Roy Briscoe, Cabinet Member for Community Services and Culture at Chichester District Council, said: “This is fantastic news that will make a real difference to children and young people in our communities.

    “As a council, we work closely with Everyone Active to ensure that we continue to provide high quality sport and leisure opportunities across our district to help residents achieve their sporting and fitness goals.”