Following discussions at today’s Economic Development and Culture Committee, the Greens have urged the Council to freeze concessionary rates for sports and leisure in the city.
Seven council sports and leisure facilities are operated on behalf of the council by the social enterprise Freedom Leisure. Residents on lower incomes are eligible for discounted access to these facilities via the ‘Leisure Card’ scheme; a free of charge, means tested ‘concession card’ which entitles card holders to up to 40% off normal rates across all seven centres.
However, with fees and charges for leisure centres expected to increase in the next year, Greens are pushing for the Council to re-negotiate the contract with Freedom Leisure so that Leisure Card holders are not subject to any additional price increases in the future. They are also keen to see the discount available under the card go up, in order to protect residents who may already find themselves struggling to meet the rising cost of living.
Green Spokesperson for the Economic Development and Culture Committee, Councillor Tom Druitt, commented:
“Under the Green administration we brought in the Leisure Card precisely to ensure all residents could access sports and leisure facilities regardless of their financial status. The services Freedom Leisure operates on behalf of the council are essential to the health and wellbeing of residents in our city and it’s very important that all residents can use them irrespective of income. Going forward we are asking the Council to re-negotiate the contract with Freedom Leisure, to enable the facilities to generate the income they need, whilst still ensuring that sports and leisure activities are genuinely affordable to all.”