Leisure concession scheme changes approved

Young adults leaving care and refugees will be able to get a discount at Cannock Chase leisure centres are part of changes to the concession scheme.

Cannock Chase Council Civic Centre in Beecroft Road
Cannock Chase Council Civic Centre in Beecroft Road

Cannock Chase residents receiving benefits for low income, disability, caring responsibilities or unemployment will also be eligible for concessionary membership, and a scheme for serving members of the Armed Forces will be made permanent.

There will also be concessions available for those who carry out voluntary work for Inspiring Health Lifestyles (IHL), which runs leisure and culture services in the district on behalf of Cannock Chase Council.

But automatic access to the discount scheme based solely on age is set to be removed. Instead new membership packages will be created for under 17s, students and over 60s.

And a new one-off fee will be brought in for those who qualify for concession rates but live in neighbouring districts and boroughs, such as Lichfield, South Staffordshire and Stafford.

Concession card holders are entitled to 50% discount on swimming lessons and sessions, fitness sessions and golf as well as annual and Direct Debit memberships and up to 50% off other activities and services.

They also have access to free Wi-Fi in IHL centres, priority advanced booking, a full fitness centre programme, gyms and swimming pools as well as a free personalised fitness induction and access to an expert fitness instructor who can create a personalised exercise programme.

The changes to the scheme were approved by Cannock Chase Council’s cabinet at a meeting on Thursday.

Councillor Adrienne Fitzgerald, cabinet member for housing, heritage and leisure, said: “As a council we want to improve and support wellbeing of our residents.

“I am really pleased that cabinet have approved this scheme, not only on a permanent basis for our Armed Forces residents, but also for residents receiving certain benefits. We want to increase access to physical activity and healthy lifestyles in Cannock Chase, and this scheme fits the bill perfectly.”

Deputy leader Bryan Jones welcomed the offer for care leavers aged between 18 and 25. He said: “I have been waiting to see this for quite a while.

“This is a fantastic piece of support, not only financially but the help it can give for physical and mental wellbeing. This is an example of where we can make lives better for the most vulnerable in our community and that has to be one of the best things we can do as a cabinet.”

Council leader Olivia Lyons said: “I think it is absolutely vital we are supporting the most vulnerable and ensuring lower paid families have equal access. Historically Cannock Chase does have over average obesity levels and shorter life expectancy.

“Looking at the changes it improves the scheme we have at the moment. We have pledged to support the armed forces where we can.

“Inspiring Healthy Lifestyles are a fantastic organisation and the service they give us is second to none. Anybody who volunteers to make their schemes such a success deserves this.”

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