Free leisure centre access for Oxford’s homeless

Oxford City Council is introducing free access to its leisure centres for people experiencing homelessness in the city.

As of 14 October, the local authority is offering a free, three month introductory membership to its leisure centres for anyone accommodated in hostels or supported housing through Oxford’s adult homeless pathway. The trial scheme will provide free access to swimming, gyms and exercise classes, with those interested encouraged to apply through their support worker.

After the initial three months people who want to continue their memberships will be able to do so at the discounted rate.

Linda Smith, deputy leader and cabinet member for leisure and housing, said: “We’re bringing in free introductory memberships at our leisure centres because we believe that people who are experiencing homelessness should have the same opportunity to access leisure activities as the rest of Oxford’s community.

“Today is both World Homeless Day and World Mental Health Day. Physical exercise is good for mental health and wellbeing and we want to do what we can to promote this, particularly as we know homelessness can extract a heavy price on people’s physical and mental health.”