Further details on the changes to Sport and Wellbeing (S&W) memberships have been announced today by SUSU VP Sports Development Steve Gore.
The initial announcement of the plans generated controversy due to the introduction of a higher pricing tier (Peak Performer), which at £230 is the only membership allowing access to facilities during peak times (4pm-8pm). The lower priced Frequent Fitness tier (£165) offers the same level of access outside of these times.
A Sports Pass (£110) has also been introduced, which allows access to block booked sports club sessions and intramural training and fixtures only. Annual memberships can be upgraded or downgraded at any point throughout the year.
Additional payment options have also been introduced for the gym at Mayflower Halls. Users are now able to purchase monthly membership for the Mayflower Gym at only £20 per month.
The pay as you go system for one off access to gyms and classes has also been overhauled. Users are now able to pay £6 for access to individual sessions if they do not hold S&W membership.
The new membership options will have a mixed effect on students.
While regular gym users will end up paying more and have less access to facilities if they hold Peak Perfomer or Frequent Fitness memberships, intramural players will effectively save money as the cost of signing up is now free (even if they are required to pay £80 more than last year for access to facilities).
Members of Athletic Union (AU) clubs could also save £55 if they do not use the gym or other facilities outside of booked club training sessions.
In a blog post, Gore revealed today that S&W members will also include access to university gyms across the country through the UNIversal Scheme being launched by British Universities and Colleges Sport (BUCS) if they purchase a £1 card. Information on the scheme and the participating institutions can be found here.
Gore explained that the aim of the S&W changes and price increases was to reduce pressure on the facilities at Jubilee Sports Centre, which regularly become ‘very crowded’ during peak times, in addition to offering more flexibility to students.
He described the changes as a ‘step in the right direction’ but said that he would be lobbying the university for further amendments, including the ability for Sports Pass holders to casually book facilities and bi-annual payment options to split membership costs.
At the Students’ Union we fundamentally disagree with the idea that sports shouldn’t be a focus at Southampton and so do the majority of our students.
Studies have shown that participating in sport at university has far reaching and varied benefits for students, including: physical and mental wellbeing, social skills, discipline, employment skills, general satisfaction, and even academic performance. We want to see sports’ play an integral role in the lives of the students who want it, and to remove as many financial barriers to participation as possible.