I've only just noticed this great new initiative by the City Council for which I think they deserve genuine praise - so top marks to Martin Mullaney and the Leisure Services team for making swimming pools and gyms free to all Birmingham residents on production of a (free) Leisure Card. This only applies to off-peak hours, but it is a great move and I hope that it is properly publicised and well-supported by residents.
Of course, it would be remiss of me not to point out that funding comes from the Primary Care Trusts and thus direct from the (Labour) government.
Initial modelling suggests that the 18 month scheme may directly prevent up to 175 premature deaths, while 1,620 cases of hypertension may also be prevented. Over an 18 month period the recorded number of adults participating in physically active recreation and sports at least three times each week will rise from 17 per cent to 23 per cent - this equates to some 23,500 people.The scheme will also ensure that over an 18 month period Birmingham will move from being in the lowest quartile of local authorities in terms of a physically active population, to the top quartile.