According to statistics stated on the Southwark Council website, 55 per cent of adults in the borough are considered either overweight or obese, with the percentage falling to 42 per cent among 11 year olds in the borough, 9.5 per cent higher than the national average.
Thus Southwark is taking this pioneering stride to help whole families get active together, alongside programmes that include free healthy school meals and free health checks. As Public Health evidence shows that getting into healthier habits early in life delivers the best results.
Cabinet Member for Public Health, Parks and Leisure, Cllr Maisie Anderson, said, “I am delighted to be launching this unique and exciting free swim and gym scheme for Southwark residents. With busy lifestyles, the rise of technology and the cost of living – getting fit is not easy. This scheme is a fantastic way of addressing the cost barrier that holds many people back. While it’s not the whole picture, I hope it will be the kick start that many people need to get active.
“Many councils are finding it harder to fund schemes to tackle obesity and inactivity. While it’s been a challenge to deliver in the face of rising cuts, I am really proud of the work we have done on our new leisure contract that means this scheme will not cost the council much needed funds.”
Hence there would be free access to swimming pools and gyms, all day on Fridays, as well as on Saturday and Sunday afternoons from 2pm, at all Southwark leisure centres.
This universal free offer for all Southwark residents comes after the successful pilot scheme for under 18s and over 60s launched in May 2015.
And also marks the extension of the free swim and gym scheme to everyday of the week, at all Southwark Leisure Centres for disabled residents, which is currently available only at The Castle Centre.
For more information and details on how to register, visit www.southwark.gov.uk/freeswimandgym