People experiencing homelessness are being offered free access to leisure centres by Oxford City Council.
A scheme launched this month (June 2021) will see the council offer free, three-month introductory memberships at its leisure centres for anyone accommodated in hostels or supported housing through Oxford’s adult homeless pathway.
The scheme provides free access to swimming, gyms and exercise classes at Barton and Ferry leisure centres and Leys Pools & Leisure.
The programme has been made available by referral from any organisation working with people living in the adult homeless pathway.
Once the initial period ends people can renew their free membership for another three months.
After this, they will be able to do so at the discounted rate of £19.50 a month – or by paying the discounted pay as you go rate for individual classes or sessions.
Standard rate memberships at the leisure centres vary from £30 to £47 a month.
Councillor Diko Blackings, cabinet member for affordable housing, said: “We’re reintroducing free and discounted memberships at our leisure centres as people with experience of rough sleeping should have the same opportunity to access leisure and creative activities as the rest of Oxford's community.
"Homelessness can take a heavy toll on physical and mental health, and physical activity can help to counteract these effects and improve people’s health and wellbeing.”