Westminster City Council and its leisure contractor, Everyone Active, has teamed up with The Passage charity, who run the UK’s largest voluntary sector resource centre for homeless and vulnerable people, as well as accommodation and homelessness prevention projects, to offer clients free access to leisure facilities throughout the borough.
The partnership will see Westminster City Council, via Everyone Active, provide The Passage with 300 free day passes to be redeemed at either Marshall Street Leisure Centre or Queen Mother Sports Centre in Westminster. Funding for the venture has been provided by Westminster City Council via their ActiveWestminster Networks, and aims to encourage homeless and vulnerable people across the borough to engage in physical activity, leisure and sport, helping to support their overall physical and mental health.
With so many reasons behind why an individual may become homeless – like the breakdown of a relationship, loss of a job or mental health issues – the partnership aims to provide homeless and vulnerable people with access to physical activity, leisure and sport opportunities. The Passage clients will be able to utilise the free passes and get involved in activities the leisure centres have to offer – from using the gym, relaxing in the spa to swimming and attending group exercise classes.
Cllr Iain Bott, Cabinet Member for Sports, Culture and Community said: “Westminster City Council spends more than any other authority – nearly £7m a year – on helping rough sleepers and we have a good record in helping people away from the streets. Our partnership with The Passage will play a welcome role in further encouraging rough sleepers in Westminster to get and stay active, which will have a positive impact on their overall physical and mental health.
“Westminster also runs a Hidden Network campaign to help end rough sleeping in the borough by encouraging the public and businesses to donate to the campaign rather than giving to individuals on the street. This helps fund services such as counselling, befriending and addiction recovery, which make a real difference in helping rough sleepers secure long-term employment and accommodation.”
Mick Clarke, Passage CEO said: “The Passage is all about ending street homelessness; preventing people becoming street homeless in the first place, and for those that do, helping them off those streets as quickly as possible. Getting and staying active has so many benefits, both physically and mentally, so offering access to Westminster’s leisure centres will make a huge difference to our clients. We are really grateful to Westminster City Council and Everyone Active for this supportive initiative.”
Kyle Maundrell, General Manager, Queen Mother Sports Centre, added “We are excited to be able to offer a fully funded opportunity to help homeless and vulnerable people in Westminster get and stay active. This initiative will help individuals lead a healthier life.”