University of Southampton’s Sport and Wellbeing launches new membership scheme from August 2017.
The new membership options cover a wider and more diverse range than before. In consequence the membership has also been increased in price which has sparked anger from students.
Indeed, whereas last year the membership allowed the use of all the facilities at any time for £165, the new ‘Frequent Fitness’ category offered at the same price, does not permit to use the facilities between 16:00 and 20:00.
The new ‘Peak Performer’ category, provides the same options as the former membership did, and will now cost £230, an increase which has angered students.
Yet those only interested in using the Mayflower gym will pay £20 per month. This offers more flexibility, although it still far more expensive. Further problems has arisen due to this option not being available for gym facilities in halls such as Glen Eyre.
One of the main concerns of the AU societies on campus last year has been addressed. Their members won’t have to buy the full membership to train at the university’s facilities, but only buy a £110 Sports Pass and an additional pay as you go if some want to book for extra slots.
Many students have still reacted negatively to this change as they consider it a substantial amount, especially once the AU team members add in the price of society membership and mandatory kit on top.
Former VP Sports, Tom Provan, was in negotiation with the university in developing a facilities pass, however the changes to the new scheme have only included a ‘Sports Pass’ while the off-peak membership underwent a £10 price increase than what was proposed last December.
In a statement to the Wessex Scene, Union VP Sports, Steve Gore, said:
“The price increase for Sport and Wellbeing membership is bad news for students who want to take part in fitness and sporting activities. There is the potential for a significant decrease in S&W usage, particularly from more casual members. Unfortunately the students’ union has very little control over financial decisions made by Sport and Wellbeing, who are currently under increased pressure from the university to be more cost effective. (…) In the past year, Tom has gone to great lengths to strengthen our working relationship with Sport and Wellbeing, and with the support of the student body and the Athletic Union Committee, successfully negotiated the addition of the £110 facilities pass to the membership offering. I am continuing to stay in close contact with Sport and Wellbeing to monitor the situation, who haven’t ruled out a review of the system in future. With changes like these it is easy to overlook some of the positive aspects of the new system – such as a cheaper cost of membership to students who wish to join Athletic Union clubs, a more flexible £20 per month gym membership option, and an ease of gym use during busy peak times. If anyone would like more information regarding membership then please contact Sport and Wellbeing directly at firstname.lastname@example.org”
Any students having concerns about the membership can contact Steve Gore at email@example.com