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Community / New leisure centre membership scheme proves popular as numbers more than double

Photo: Brian Gray

MEMBERSHIP numbers at Shetland Recreational Trust have more than doubled after a new subscription model was introduced last week.

Trust chief executive Steven Laidlaw said the launch has been “very successful” so far – and is hopefully encouraging more people to get healthy and fit at the charity’s network of leisure centres.

The new MORE4Life model allows people to pay £25 a month for access to the organisation’s leisure centres, while there is also a £39 family ticket.

The only things not available under the scheme are any classes/activities paid for in blocks, team/group bookings and personal training programmes.

Shetland Recreational Trust chief executive Steven Laidlaw.

There is also an Access to Leisure scheme allowing people on benefits to access activities for £1 a go.

It has encouraged more Shetlanders to take up memberships at the trust – with more than 2,000 subscriptions now on the books.

Laidlaw said the family membership has shown the biggest growth.

“All the centres have now reported back they’ve got peak times now that are almost maxed out,” he said. “That’s really, really encouraging.

“It’s not all about being the best sportsman in the world – it’s about getting yourself in there and getting a bit fitter and healthier.”

Laidlaw said he had spoken one to person in their 80s who had not been in a leisure centre for about two decades due to affordability – but she had used the Access to Leisure scheme to use gym and swimming facilities.

Laidlaw felt it was important for the trust to play a key role in getting the community active after the pandemic.

He said the last 18 months have been challenging for the recreational trust, with leisure centres closed for periods of time in lockdown.

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“Like every other business in the world, it has been difficult,” Laidlaw said.

“We’ve been heavily supported continually by the council’s education department and the Charitable Trust, and I thank them continually.”

Looking to the future, Laidlaw also said the trust continues to explore various developments – but there is no update on plans to introduce a soft play facility at the Clickimin bowls hall.

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