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MARCH 12 LETTERS write to reply


Do you have a strong opinion or disagree with somebody else’s views on the industry? If so, we’d love to hear from you – email: healthclub@leisuremedia.com


we must look beyond our four walls to get people active I was especially interested to read the editor’s letter (HCM Jan 12, p3) regarding the Olympic Legacy and the need to engage people outside the four walls of the club. If, as an industry, we are genuinely


to encourage people to reach the recommended levels of physical activity – whether that’s 30 minutes of activity five times a week, or 75 minutes twice a week – we need to understand that leisure centres and fitness clubs are only part of the solution. Everyone Active has collected data


Wigan’s Midnight Football Leagues provide a regular structure for youths


get kids active, and they’ll stay active as young adults


I was interested to read your editor’s letter in HCM January (p3). The challenge of increasing participation, particularly among young adults, is one we’ve sought to embrace in Wigan through a number of initiatives. We engage with participants in their early to mid-teens, when they’re likely to be active through school and community sport. The aim is to provide a positive experience that will maximise their likelihood of remaining active when the risk of lapsing into inactivity is at its greatest. This ‘engage and sustain’ approach


is typified by our Midnight Football Leagues, developed by the leisure trust in partnership with the police, council and Wigan & Leigh Housing in 2008. Based on Midnight Basketball in the US, where sport is used to engage children who might otherwise be involved in crime and anti-social behaviour, it provides structured, competitive weekly football sessions at two locations.


6 Initially for under-16s, it proved so


successful that it was expanded to include an under-19s competition. While The Midnight Leagues’ high profile brought in new participants, the vast majority attended as children and returned as young adults. The 2011 programme attracted 410


participants with 2,863 attendances across the 20 sessions; just three weeks into the 2012 programme, 350 individual participants have already been recorded. The long-term impact of this approach


will continue to be monitored, but evidence from the Midnight Leagues demonstrates that, if participants are engaged and supported through a positive sporting experience in their teens, they are more likely to remain active during the key transition period of their lives from active children to active young adults. jeff gorse performance management offi cer, healthy living - wigan leisure and culture trust


Read Health Club Management online at healthclubmanagement.co.uk/digital


over the past four years which suggests that only around 5 per cent of our total customer base of 1,300,000 people come to our facilities twice or more a week – many more come between once and twice a week. The evidence is clear that we need to be encouraging people to be active both inside our facilities and outside, in their own space and time. As detailed in the FIA 2010 strategy,


leisure centres and fitness clubs need to become ‘hubs’ of activity in their community, with links to schools, clubs, local authorities, the NHS etc. Only then will we get the nation active. neil king commercial director, everyone active


Getting out: Clubs need to become ‘activity hubs’ in the community


march 2012 © cybertrek 2012


MARCH 2012


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