Free swim and gym offer to improve fitness - Local councillor welcomes initiative

Swimming pool

Tyburn Ward Councillor Ann Holtom has warmly welcomed Birmingham City Council's "Be Active" initiative under which Birmingham residents will be able to use Council gyms and swimming pools free of charge from September with the aim of helping people to improve their personal fitness and lose weight.

The programme - open to people aged 17 to 59 - is costing £9.3 million, and will give free off peak access to local authority-run pools and leisure centres.

AnnCllr Holtom welcomed the council initiative, introduced by the partnership administration in which the Liberal Democrats participate, as recently released figures show Birmingham is one of the UK's fattest and least physically active cities.

Experts recommend doing a minimum of 30 minutes exercise three times a week - but just 17% of Birmingham residents achieve this. In Erdington the figures are only 15%.

Councillor Holtom said: "I hope this good news initiative from Liberal Democrat Birmingham City Council will mean that many local residents who have perhaps not been able to afford to pay for the use of Council gyms and pools will be encouraged to do so. It is good for the community and good for individuals to improve their fitness. We understand that around 140,000 adults in the city are obese, and an estimated 1,400 deaths in the city every year are related to weight problems, so anything the Council can do to make it easier for people to take exercise can only help."