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High Life membership scheme praised by the Scottish Government

17th June 2014

Photograph of High Life membership scheme praised by the Scottish Government

The low cost inclusive High Life membership scheme for leisure facilities in Highland has received a growing amount of national attention over the last two years. Notably a Scottish Government working group has recognised the scheme as a significantly different operating model, which enables access to all regardless of income levels and one that could potentially be replicated by other Local Authorities and Leisure Trusts across Scotland.
 
In its report, The Scottish Government Working Group on Sport praised the High Life scheme's pricing strategy, specifically for supporting individuals most in need by enabling access to opportunities to be more physically active at an affordable cost. Physical activity is increasingly being regarded as ‘the single most important thing we can do for our health' (Dr Mike Evans in ‘23 ½ hours'). It is widely recognised that physical activity can reduce the risk of major illnesses, such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes and cancer by up to 50% and lower your risk of early death by up to 30%.

High Life membership offers individuals and families access to a range of health and fitness opportunities in leisure centres throughout the Highlands. In addition to swimming pools and fitness suites, membership of the scheme provides access to squash courts, swimming lessons and a huge range of group exercise classes for people of all abilities and interests.
The membership options are flexible and range from individual and family memberships for £19 and £27 per month, respectively. In addition the budget membership option provides access to all facilities for just 50p per activity if the household is in receipt of: Income Support, Pension Guarantee Credit, Job Seekers Allowance or Employment Support Allowance, or individuals on War Disability Pension, Disability Living Allowance, Personal Independence Payment (from 10 June 2013) or Attendance Allowance.

Laurence Young, Chair of High Life Highland said: "We are very proud that the High Life scheme has been recognised in this way. Attracting high levels of memberships is important to us as it enables low subscription costs, which in turn ensures the scheme remains as inclusive as possible. Since 2010 the High Life scheme has recorded a general increase in attendances of 91%. Importantly, it has also seen steep rises in use by those people who qualify for entry through the "budget" part of the scheme at just 50p a visit. In a sample of 13 facilities operating the High Life scheme between 2001 and 2013 the increase in budget participation has risen by an impressive 283%."

Councillor Drew Hendry, Leader of The Highland Council welcomed the feedback from The Scottish Government Working Group: "We have a strong working relationship with the Scottish Government and partner agencies and we are very pleased to see the High Life scheme being recognised in this way.

The Highland Council is proud to have introduced the initial High Life Scheme in May 2000 providing affordable access to leisure facilities throughout the Highlands which has been carried on and developed by High Life Highland. Throughout our Programme for Administration we make a commitment to equalities and to provide the best quality of life possible for those in need of support - the High Life scheme continues to support us to achieve those outcomes, through ensuring leisure facilities are accessible to all as part of a healthy lifestyle".

For full details of the Highlife Scheme go to http://highlifehighland.com/membership

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