Gym numbers boosted by fee changes

Gym membership at council run centres in North Norfolk has taken a huge leap since a trial monthly membership rate began in 2009.

Membership numbers are up by 48pc at Fakenham Sport and Fitness Centre between April 2009 and August 2010, when the new �14.99-a-month rate was introduced.

The Splash and Victory swimming and fitness centres at Sheringham and North Walsham respectively followed suit in September 2009.

The Splash has seen a rise in membership of 36 per cent up to August, and the Victory centre an increase of 66 per cent. There are now more than 3,200 members of the three gyms which are owned by North Norfolk District Council and managed by DC Leisure, who came up with the idea of a cut-price membership of the gym only, as opposed to a rate for using all facilities at the centres.

Since April 2009, there have been some 17,000 extra visits to the gyms in the three towns as a result.

The New Year will see a slight increase in the monthly rate – from �14.99 to �16.99, but the charges are still about half the pre-2009 cost, and without the obligation of an annual membership.

Councillor Hilary Nelson, cabinet member for leisure, said: 'It's wonderful to see that so many more people are taking advantage of the chance to get fitter, without it breaking the bank and without the stress of a long-term commitment.

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'So we can all enjoy loosening our belts a little over Christmas, knowing that burning off the extra pounds in the New Year will be a breeze!'