Local leisure providers have partnered with Bristol City Council to offer free gym memberships as part of the council’s EPIC (Exceptional People in Care) offer to fostering families and care leavers.
From this month, leisure operators Parkwood Leisure, Everyone Active, LEX Leisure and ALM (Brunel Fitness) are all offering free yearly membership to Bristol City Council foster carers, children in care and care leavers up to the age of 25.
Elanor Stanley, Bristol Leisure Manager from Brunel Fitness Centre, said: ”This is such a good cause. Children in care and care leavers can have it so tough, and foster carers do such an amazing job. If we can give them something to focus on, somewhere to be a part of and help improve their well-being through fitness then Brunel Fitness are happy to help.”
For foster carers this represents an extra level of support offered by the city and for care leavers on limited budgets. It means they are not disadvantaged in accessing fitness and leisure activities, that can really benefit their physical and mental health.
Councillor Helen Godwin, Cabinet member for Children, Families and Women, said: “Leisure centres are so important for families and young people as a place to keep fit, learn new skills and spend time together.
"To know that our city VIP’s – our foster carers – and our young people who have experienced care, will be able to use them free of charge is a really positive step forward and complements our aim to ensure that everyone is Bristol is able to be physically active.
"The commitment shown by our leisure operators to our EPIC and Corporate Parenting agenda is very welcome and we look forward to other businesses and organisations following their lead.”
Respite carer Nancy said: “This is great news. Our foster child loves swimming and we take her every time she comes to stay. We will be making very good use of this offer.’’