LEISURE: Move seems ill-advised

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We are writing to express our dismay and annoyance at the decision that Willowburn Sports Centre has taken to cancel all under-16 gym memberships and make it pay to train only for this age group.

Our daughter, who is 14, has been using the gym regularly and really enjoys going.

She has been going four times a week and we have been paying a fee of £32 a month. For our daughter to continue attending the gym the same number of times per month will now cost £56. Even if she only goes three times per week, it will still be £42 per month.

Surely this goes against everything the Government and health officials are trying to convey to teenagers, and in particular young girls, who tend to do less exercise as they get older.

Establishments such as Willowburn should be doing everything they can to encourage an active lifestyle in our youngsters as health habits learnt at this age tend to stay with you throughout life.

Our daughter will hopefully continue to use the gym, but she appreciates that it is costing considerably more each month and she will now have to ask us for the money every time she wants to go. This will inevitably mean she will feel guilty about asking and the number of visits could decrease, or possibly stop completely.

We believe this is an ill-advised decision that was not thought out properly.

In our opinion, this should in some way be revised, ideally reinstating the junior membership, or at the very least reducing the pay to train fee to a level that makes the costs more comparable to the direct debit that we, and no doubt other parents, had been paying.

Glyn and Angela Brazel,

Shilbottle