Did you know that

Leeds tops the list of England’s Core Cities for adult participation in sport and Recreation?
– And that out of 326 local authority areas, it comes out seventh for activity levels?

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The Active People Survey by Sport England shows 31.2 per cent of people in Leeds now take part in sport or active recreation three times a week or more.

Makes us quite tired just to think about it.

Seriously, though, this is all tribute to the way local leisure facilities are used – and the way they have been promoted and protected in these times of local Government austerity.

There’s no doubt that, as Councillor Lucinda Yeadon, (Leeds City Council’s Executive Member for Leisure and Skills), says
‘These fantastic figures show that the enthusiasm the people of Leeds have for grassroots sport and leisure is growing all the time.’

But there’s also no doubt that she’s right that it’s
“the great facilities available in Leeds today which mean that people can indulge their passion for whatever type of activity best suits their age and ability.’

And in order to make it easier for people to get involved in sports and leisure activities, Leeds Council will continue to make those facilities as widely available as possible, in particular by offering Leeds Let’s Get Active sessions.

The free, hour-long gym or swimming sessions are available each day at every council-managed leisure centre in Leeds, with activities also being held in community venues. Leeds Let’s Get Active aims to encourage people of all ages to be more physically active, especially those in areas of the greatest health inequality.

The Council have also announced that prices for Bodyline membership as well as casual prices for swimming, gym and fitness classes will not be going up in January 2014.

The flipside of these figures is, of course, the numbers of people who do NOT take regular exercise – as these same surveys revealed
– the 42.5 per cent of the population who said they had done no sport or active recreation during the previous 28 days.
– The Sixty per cent who said they did not take part in any type of 30 minute sport session in a given week.

And the dark figures behind all of them are the huge disparities in life expectancy in our city – linked, as we’ve reported before – to poverty and deprivation.

So this is good news, but there’s still a long way to go.

Alex Sobel has welcomed the continuing efforts of Leeds Labour Council
“The Council’s Let’s Get Active programme is essential in giving opportunities to those people who struggle financially to take part in sport and keep healthy. These figures and very good news.
But we need to remember that the Council’s ability to continue funding sport in this way is under threat from the ever-tightening squeeze on Local Authority finance by the Coalition.
And at a time of continually squeezed living standards we need also to keep in mind those who are sinking further and further into poverty and ill health.’

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