Monday, August 31, 2009

All public gym and swimming baths in Birmingham are free as of 1st September

As of Tuesday 1st September, all public swimming baths in Birmingham will be free to all Birmingham residents. Similarly, all public gyms will be free during non-peak times.

This is part of 18 month experiment funded by the Primary Care Trusts and working in partnership with the City Council. The objective of this project is to improve to the health of the residents of Birmingham.

The experiment initially began over 2 years ago in Ladywood, where the Primary Care Trust saw a reduction in medicine use, where participants started to eat and live healthier.

This scheme will be assessed after 12 months to see what impact it is having on the fitness and health of Birmingham citizens.

From a Moseley and Kings Heath perspective, this means that the following is free to all residents:

FREE swimming during casual public sessions in all city council pools – this includes Moseley Road baths and Cocks Moor Woods Leisure Centre.

FREE use at all the council’s Pulse Point fitness facilities and classes in leisure facilities at off peak times for free up until 5pm weekdays and after 1pm weekends. This would include the Pulse Gyms at:

· Billesley Indoor Tennis centre, Wheelers Lane (next to Swanhurst Girls school)

· Cocks Moor Woods Lesiure Centre

· Chamberlain Health and Fitness Centre, inside the new Joseph Chamberlain College by Belgrave Middleway, Balsall Heath

· Moseley School Health and Fitness Centre, Springfield Road

Some background information

The objective of this scheme is to do the following:

· Increase the number of people who regularly take part in active recreation and sport.

· Improve the mental and physical health of those who are not physically active.

· Promote healthy eating and enable more people to maintain a normal body weight.

· Reduce early death and disability from chronic diseases by promoting physical activity and improving cardiovascular fitness among those who experience the most inequality in health.

A few startling facts:

Of all the core cities, Birmingham has the least physically active adult population.

We have the highest proportion of adults with Type II diabetes.

We also have the second highest rate of childhood obesity among Year 6 children.

Around 140,000 adults in Birmingham are estimated to be obese and about 50,000 adults suffer from diabetes.


Initial modelling suggests that the 18 month scheme may directly prevent up to 175 premature deaths, while 1,620 cases of hypertension may also be prevented. Over an 18 month period the recorded number of adults participating in physically active recreation and sports at least three times each week will rise from 17 per cent to 23 per cent - this equates to some 23,500 people.

The scheme will also ensure that over an 18 month period Birmingham will move from being in the lowest quartile of local authorities in terms of a physically active population, to the top quartile.

It will impact on life expectancy and should raise the city profile through national and potentially even international interest in the scheme.


2 Comments:

At 1:19 PM, Blogger KellyPanter said...

This sounds like a really good idea - do you know how well publicised it is, also is it being evaluated at all?

 
At 6:50 PM, Blogger srboisvert said...

This sounds great. I wish I had heard about it sooner.

However, the free times don't do much for the Moseley School Health and Fitness Centre as it is only free during the week while the Pulse Fitness Centre isn't open to the public.

Also the pages on the official Birmingham Council website (which is new) list price information that contradicts your statement that these facilities are free.

 

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