1,000 local people sign up for free swimming and gym membership this summer

Published: Wednesday, August 23, 2023

  • Free swim and gym memberships are now available for low income families
  • More than a thousand local people have signed up for the scheme
  • Eligible residents include those receiving Universal Credit, Asylum Seekers and children on free school meals
  • Enhances the council’s package of support during the cost of living crisis

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More than a thousand residents have signed up for a scheme offering free gym and swim sessions, with all eligible residents urged not to miss out this summer.

Wandsworth Council has brought in the scheme, run with leisure centre contractor Places Leisure, to stop residents being priced out of using leisure facilities to keep fit and healthy.

Council leader Simon Hogg said: “This is all part of our ongoing work to make the borough fairer and more compassionate and support people through the Cost of Living crisis.

“Regular exercise is great for people’s mental and physical health and we want to make sure council facilities are available to all.”

Asylum seekers and anyone receiving Universal Credit can enjoy free off-peak gym and swim sessions (off peak is before 5.30pm on weekdays and all day at weekends).

Residents can create a free Places membership online then take proof of eligibility (either a text message or a letter confirming their eligibility) to their chosen leisure centre, where the team will register the membership and issue a membership card. Once a member, they can book sessions.

Young people aged 16 and under who receive free school meals will be able to swim for free. A parent or guardian looking after one or two children will also be able to join them for free so that families can enjoy a swim together.

Children between 11 and 16 years old will also be able to use the free junior gym, and they can also make other free sports bookings. 

Care leavers up to the age of 25 can register for half price membership. Foster carers can receive a free premium membership.

Free gym and swim is part of a package of measures to help families struggling with the Cost of Living crisis, including free school uniforms, school breakfasts, community spaces and London’s biggest Cost of Living support package.

Swimming sessions should be booked in advance and are subject to availability.

Click here for more information and to register.