Seniors go free in bid to boost county’s health29 Jun
Senior residents aged 75 and over who live within Cheshire West and Chester will qualify for a free leisure membership in a new scheme launched by Brio Leisure, which allows the use of all Brio leisure centres across the borough.
The project will allow those living within the borough, aged 75 and over, access to all of Brio’s leisure centres including the new multi-million pound facilities at Ellesmere Port Sports Village and Northwich Memorial Court.
It’s hoped the scheme will have longer-term benefits on the region’s health service by improving older peoples’ fitness levels and helping with post-operative rehabilitation.
“Cheshire West has an ageing population. There are currently 25,000 people over the age of 75 in the borough and this figure will double by 2030. It’s vitally important that we start to look at ways we can maintain the health and well-being of older people,” said Elly McFahn, Managing Director of Brio Leisure.
The 75+ leisure membership allows senior members access to a wide range of Brio Leisure facilities including swimming, stream room, sauna, jacuzzi, racquet sports and the gym for free, Monday to Friday up until 4.00pm and anytime at the weekends. It also includes daytime fitness classes for a reduced rate of just £1.00 per class. Members can also take advantage of the social facilities within all centres as part of their membership.
The scheme, funded from the recent award of the Integrated Wellness contact by Cheshire West and Chester, will run initially for three years to assess how well older people respond to the project and its impact on health and wellbeing in the borough.
Brio Leisure operate a wide variety of leisure complexes in Cheshire West such as the Northgate Arena in Chester, Winsford Lifestyle Centre and the new centres, Northwich Memorial Court and Ellesmere Port Sports Village. There are also centres in other districts including Frodsham, Christleton, Neston and Malpas.
“People can come for a swim, work out in the gym or enjoy racquet sports but others may prefer to come into the centres for a coffee and something to eat, to chat with friends or simply to watch the world go by and that’s equally important for the well-being of the community. Our new facilities in particular have been designed with these important social facilities in mind,” added Mrs McFahn.
Councillors Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Culture Leisure and Wellbeing, Cllr Louise Gittins and Brio Chairman and Leader of Workforce and Democracy, Cllr Paul Donovan launched the scheme this week.
“People are living longer and in Cheshire West we do have a higher than average population of older people. We have to accept that and ensure people can make the best out of their lives,” said Cllr Gittins.
“It’s really important that older people have opportunities such as this to get out of the house. The benefits both socially and health wise for older people are enormous. Exercise transforms lives and gives people confidence… it’s a fantastic scheme,” she added.
Local GPs and health advisors are also advising patients about the project as a way of preventing some of the illnesses associated with getting older and as a means of aiding recovery after treatment or operations.
Anne Lodge, a 77-year-old retired cleaner from Ellesmere Port, is using her free membership as part of her recovery programme after undergoing a hip replacement.
“Unfortunately there were complications and I was in hospital for three months. I was barely able to walk by the time I left and I lost my confidence. Since coming to the centre I love every minute. Life is for living, not sitting at home watching TV. Everyone is so nice. I’ve made lots of new friends as well as getting fitter. I’d tell anyone of my age to give it a go,” she said.
Anne endorsed the project and agreed to become the face of the 75+ campaign to help others realise that this does not just mean looking after you when you are unwell, but also helping you to take positive steps which will improve both your physical and mental well-being and allow you to make the most of your life.
Cllr Gittins added: “The added benefit of this scheme is that further down the line we will help NHS services by saving them money. Unfortunately public health service budgets have been cut recently and it’s important that residents are aware of that. They should make the most of projects such as this while it’s here.”
For information on how to take advantage of the free memberships call 0300 7770033