Stop the 40% increase to membership fees at Sport and Wellbeing.
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As of the 1st August 2017, prices for a membership at Sport and Wellbeing (the membership scheme for the University of Southampton gyms) are increasing from £165 to £230 a year.
The current Sport and Wellbeing membership that has been available cost £165, the price for a 2016/2017 membership. This allowed you access to all of the gyms within the University of Southampton scheme, at any time. The new membership, called the 'Peak Performer' membership, offers the exact same options, but has been raised by 40%, now costing £230. In short, students are now expected to pay £65 more to have the same membership that was offered in the previous year.
Sport and Wellbeing have combated this criticism by suggesting using their new membership named the 'Frequent Fitness' which excludes members from accessing any of the gym facilities at peak times (this does not include Mayflower gym, but as this gym is situated in the city centre, it is less accessible to students).
It cannot be ignored that the Sport and Wellbeing team are offering less for more in this situation. This is actively discouraging students from participating in fitness, as the vast increase in price makes it far less accessible for students from poorer backgrounds. If a student was to receive the highest maintenance loan, the new Sport and Wellbeing membership would be around 10% of one of their 3 payments.
Students studying at the University of Southampton live further away from the city centre than most, which is where a large proportion of the privately owned gyms are situated. Therefore, it is only those who can afford to travel (many of these gyms are not accessible solely by UniLink Buses) who will be able to access the cheaper, private gyms. The poorer students will have no choice but to pay the higher fees, or to not go to the gym at all.
What is being advertised as a solution for the overcrowding at Jubilee Gym is actually a new scheme which actively discourages students, particularly those from poorer backgrounds, to join the facilities offered by Sport and Wellbeing, as it is an extremely large increase in fees considering no extra benefits are being offered to members.
It is in our students best interest for the membership fees to be brought back down to the original price. The issue here is not the newly introduced idea of peak and off peak times, but the idea that Sport and Wellbeing are charging 40% more for the same membership students would have received in 2016. With maintenance grants being scrapped and tuition fees increasing, this is another unnecessary fee that students are being forced to pay, as there are no accessible competitors.
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