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Leisure centres set to launch free membership for children in care and cared experienced young people

Leisure centres in Sutton are set to offer free memberships to children in care and care experienced young people from this month.

Cheam Leisure Centre, David Weir Leisure Centre, The Phoenix Centre and Westcroft Leisure Centre, run by award-winning operator Everyone Active in partnership with Sutton Council are taking part in the new initiative to reduce the barriers between children and young people participating in sport and physical activity.

The free membership will give access to a range of facilities depending on their age, including gym, swim, soft play and group exercise.

According to latest figures from the Department for Education for children looked after (CLA) in England, the number of children in care is at an all-time high, at more than 80,000 children or 67 in every 10,000.

This year, Everyone Active has launched its national Community Health and Wellbeing Strategy, with the aim to meet the needs of individual communities through programmes that support people to be physically active, and to feel happy and healthy.

As part of the strategy, this membership will support children in care or care experienced young children with free access to leisure facilities that can help improve their physical health and mental wellbeing.

The complimentary membership for cared for children and care experienced young people can be accessed and set up through a referral system from local Council Family support teams.

Rebecca Eyles, Everyone Active’s contract manager, said: “We are immensely proud to launch this partnership Sutton Council. We understand the vital role we play in supporting all areas of the community and feel this membership will make a real difference to many young people’s lives.

“We want to provide opportunities for young people and children who have been in or currently are in care, that activity is for all, and we want to offer them a safe space to enjoy our sports and activity offering.”

Councillor Marian James, Chair of Sutton Council’s People Committee, said: “We recently made care experience a protected characteristic in Sutton so I am delighted to see this fantastic offer by Everyone Active. We are committed to making Sutton an inclusive place for everyone and this offer will ensure that our young people who experience care have a safe place to go and exercise."

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