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Sport / New membership scheme aims to make leisure centres more accessible

Photo: Shetland Recreational Trust

A NEW membership scheme is being launched by Shetland Recreational Trust in bid to help more people become active.

The MORE4Life memberships will be introduced on 1 November – with the trust saying they promise “excellent value for money”.

The new model replaces the existing subscription system and will make it cheaper to access the trust’s eight leisure centres.

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There are two types of new membership – individual and family/household.

Both will allow subscribers to use any leisure centre, regardless of where in Shetland they live.

Facilities and activities included in a MORE4Life membership include swimming, gym and fitness suites, health suites, studio and fitness classes, online classes, racquet sports (badminton, squash and table tennis), climbing wall and bowls rinks.

Individuals will pay £25 a month for MORE4Life.

Household memberships for two adults and any number of children aged under 18 at the same address are only £39 a month.

The trust’s operations manager Robert Geddes said: “MORE4Life provides excellent value for money for anyone who participates in even one activity regularly, compared to pay and play prices.

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“The scheme offers great value and gives members access to leisure activities across Shetland.”

For customers who use the facilities only once or twice a month the “pay-and-play” options remain.

Trustees approved the MORE4Life scheme at a recent meeting and new Shetland Recreational Trust.

Chairman David Thomson said it represented a “huge step” forward.

“After the challenging 18 months that our community has been through, I’m delighted that we can launch MORE4Life,” he said, “which will make it cheaper and easier for anyone to access our gyms, pools and leisure facilities across Shetland.”

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To ensure the trust’s centres are accessible to as many people as possible, a separate “access to leisure” concession rate is being launched.

Those who qualify will pay only £1 to take part in any of the activities included in MORE4Life, without the need to pay a recurring membership fee.

Including the new concessionary rate is key to the trust’s goal of ensuring sport and leisure is open to everybody, the charity said.

The move to a new model follows a period of consultation, including focus groups and meetings with charities, community groups and stakeholders.

Recreational trust chief executive Steven Laidlaw said: “This is a really exciting change to our subscriptions and represents fantastic value for money.

“I am confident it will prove very popular and lead to more people using our leisure centres more often.

“We have worked hard to consult with the public and listen to their views and we are delighted to launch MORE4Life.

“I’m also really pleased that we are able to offer a concessionary rate that will help reduce financial barriers to participating in activities.

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“We have worked closely with many voluntary and charity groups to develop this scheme and I am very hopeful that it will help increase participation.”

The concessionary “access to leisure” offer is for those in receipt of:

  • Any disability benefit
  • Free school meals/clothing grant
  • Income support
  • Income-based Job Seekers’ Allowance
  • Child or Working Tax Credit
  • Universal Credit
  • Employment and Support Allowance
  • Or support under Part V1 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999.

Meanwhile MORE4Life also includes membership in the Scottish Leisure Link Partnership.

It allows members to show their MORE4Life subscription card to gain access to fitness centres in Highland, Moray, Shetland, Orkney, the Western Isles, Live Borders, Sport Aberdeen and Argyll and Bute.

Thomson also thanked Shetland Charitable Trust (SCT) for its ongoing financial backing, adding that without it MORE4Life would not be possible.

“The excellent value new subscriptions model is possible thanks to the support we get from Shetland Charitable Trust,” he said.

“It’s no exaggeration that without Shetland Charitable Trust’s backing then SRT may not have been able to reopen after the pandemic lockdowns.”

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