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Free leisure centre membership for people with Parkinson's

Leisure centres in Middlesbrough are set to offer free membership to people living with Parkinson’s from this month.

Middlesbrough Sports Village, Neptune Leisure Centre and Rainbow Leisure Centre, run by award-winning operator Everyone Active in partnership with Middlesbrough Council, are taking part in the new initiative alongside charity Parkinson’s UK which will launch on World Parkinson’s Day – Monday, April 11.

The free membership will give access to gym, swim and group exercise classes.

In addition, all members will be offered a personalised exercise prescription through EXi, the easy-to-use exercise referral platform, with Synergy Dance online classes also available. Free carer membership will be available, if required.

Parkinson’s is the fastest-growing neurological condition in the world and there is currently no cure. It affects around 145,000 people in the UK and there are more than 40 symptoms, from tremor and pain to anxiety.

Being physically active can play an important role in living well with Parkinson’s. People living with the condition find various activities, from walking to dance, beneficial in managing their symptoms.

Paul Ayre, Everyone Active’s contract manager, said: “We are immensely proud to launch this partnership with Parkinson’s UK and hope it will make a real difference to many people’s lives.

“We want to encourage the whole Parkinson’s community to exercise and are confident we have an activity for all, no matter what your age, ability or fitness level.

“Being more active will help members to live well with Parkinson’s, improving their physical fitness and mental wellbeing, as well as having fun.”

Tom Ingram, Corporate Partnerships Manager at Parkinson’s UK, said: “We’re delighted to partner with Everyone Active, who have very generously offered complimentary membership for people living with Parkinson’s and their carers.

“Being physically active is important for everyone. It supports both physical and mental health and depending on what you choose, can provide social support and interaction, all of which can really help people living with Parkinson’s and those providing informal care.

“Developing a regular physical activity habit can make a person feel more in control when living with the condition. Quality of life can be enhanced and independence and confidence maintained.

“We hope that with the support of Everyone Active, the Parkinson’s community can enjoy physical activity and use it to make a real difference to their lives.”

Councillor Stephen Hill, Middlesbrough Council’s Executive member for Culture & Communities, said: “We’re enormously proud of our first-class leisure and gym facilities, and a big part of that is ensuring they’re accessible to as many people as possible.

“Physical activity is important for all of us, but for those living with Parkinson’s it can make a massive difference to quality of life.

“This partnership will make a real difference – I’m looking forward to meeting some of those who take up the offer and finding out more about their experience.”

For further information or to join, visit the Everyone Active website. Those with underlying health conditions such as heart problems, diabetes or breathing issues should contact their GP before starting any new activity.