New referral programme to improve health for all ages in 2020

Published Friday, 27th December 2019

Black wall outside the Civic Centre with the words Civic Centre in gold

A new wellbeing referral programme that will see subsidised exercise sessions introduced to help people get active and to keep them well, will launch at the end of January 2020.

The scheme for all adults will be subsidised by ending the four free swims per year currently offered to residents over 65 years old, which has seen less than 20 people per month on average take up the offer.

Southend-on-Sea Borough Council is introducing the new scheme of various health and fitness classes, in partnership with Everyone Health and Fusion Lifestyle.

GP’s will be able to refer residents who are over the age of 16, currently inactive and living with one or more specific health conditions.

There will be a mixture of group classes, one-to-one exercise, gym sessions, swimming, and specialist classes for certain health conditions, such as heart and lung issues and pain management, costing just £2 each.

Cllr Trevor Harp, cabinet member for health and adult social care, said: “With a low number of people taking up the four free swims offer and bearing in mind national funding for free swimming was taken away nearly 10 years ago, the simple fact is that the public cost of providing this are now disproportionate to the numbers of people benefitting.

“We therefore believe it makes sense to put the budget we have for this into subsidising something that will have positive health benefits for a wider section of the local community.

“I am pleased we can offer these courses for those that need the intervention, which people can access via a GP referral, and that we can make it affordable with a subsidised cost. Not only does it help our residents, it supports our local NHS by giving additional or continued physical activity support, to manage or alleviate ongoing health conditions.

“As a local authority we have a duty to give our residents every opportunity to increase the activity they do, in order to improve and protect and improve their health and wellbeing. Our hope is that once residents take up these sessions, they will be encouraged to continue on with their own physical activities.”

The card entitling residents over 65 to four free swimming sessions will stop being issued on 31 December 2019. People will have until 31 January 2020 to use their sessions. The new exercise sessions will cost £2 per session and begin in February 2020.

The courses include:

  • 12 week supervised introduction to physical activity. Southend Leisure and Tennis Centre, Shoeburyness Leisure Centre and Chase Sports and Fitness Centre.
  • 12 swims during any public swimming session. Belfairs Swim Centre, Shoeburyness Leisure Centre and Southend Leisure and Tennis Centre
  • Water therapy classes at Belfairs Swim Centre
  • Pulmonary classes at Southend Leisure and Tennis Centre.  Low intensity circuit to help improve endurance and the body’s ability to use oxygen efficiently
  • Cardia rehabilitation classes at Southend Leisure and Tennis Centre. Designed to improve cardiovascular health
  • Pain management course focusing on people with back pain. Details to be confirmed

For more information about these sessions, we will be updating our Southend-on-Sea Borough Council Public Health Facebook page.

Those who do not qualify for a GP referral but still want to access exercise classes, can speak directly to the venues about pay-as-you-go and membership options.

Southend Leisure and Tennis Centre: 01702 613000

Chase Sports and Fitness Centre: 01702 433006

Belfairs Swim Centre: 01702 712155

Shoeburyness Leisure Centre: 01702 293558