A Cambuslang woman has slammed South Lanarkshire Council for increasing the price of gym memberships for the elderly.
Mary Scott has attended Eastfield Lifestyle for 14 years but was forced to stop going due to Covid-19 restrictions.
When the gyms and leisure centres reopened on April 26, Mary decided she would return to the gym as she finds regular exercise the only way to control her knee problems.
But the 85-year-old was horrified when the price of the “Activage” membership – a membership for South Lanarkshire residents aged sixty and over had increased by almost 23 per cent, from £58 to £75 for the year.
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Mary told Lanarkshire Live: “I could not believe the price increase.. The elderly are being penalised here.
“I go to the gym as it helps my knee. I was almost needing a new knee three years ago but regular exercise at the gym has prevented this.
“I’m really angry, they’re not putting up prices of any other membership except from the Activage membership price, for the over 60s.
“And I have spoken with a number of people who have said that as a result of the price increase, which is a significant jump, they won’t be going back.
“I understand the membership allows access to a number of venues but like many others I have no intention of travelling through to Hamilton or Larkhall when there’s a facility in my area.
“I feel that South Lanarkshire Leisure is trying to force the elderly clientele away, push us away by increasing the price.
“It’s clear they don’t want us there.”
Mary also feels that the way in which the gym memberships are paid to South Lanarkshire Leisure and Culture is an unfair system.
When Mary re-joined the gym last week, she paid £37.50 and is expected to pay a second instalment of £37.50 on June 10 – just six weeks after her initial payment.
Mary said: “I just can’t understand the logic here.
“Naturally, you’d assume that by halving the total membership cost, that it would cover half the year – six months.
“But instead of the £37.50 lasting six months until October, I’ve to pay another £37.50 in six weeks time in order for the full years total cost to be paid.
“It’s ridiculous and it’s sheer greediness from the council.”
Mary feels that the council should adapt their payment system to be more “fair” on those who may struggle financially or for those who only don’t want to attend the gym all year round, she added: “Most gyms offer a monthly membership where you pay a small fee each month.
“This means that if you are struggling financially, you don’t need to fork out £37.50 twice in two instalments so close to each other.
“It also gives you the freedom to go when it suits you. For me, I won’t be going in the winter when it’s dark and cold and wet, but here SLC have forced me to pay for a year when I won’t use the facility for the year.
“It’s selfish, unfair and quite frankly makes no sense.”
David Booth, General Manager of South Lanarkshire Leisure and Culture, said: “Our Activage membership is an annual membership for over-60s who are residents of South Lanarkshire.
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“They can purchase an annual membership for £75, equating to less than £1.50 per week, giving them access to all of our leisure centres for swimming, fitness gyms, classes and much more. We feel this still offers over-60s great value for money and it compares very favourably with similar schemes in the neighbouring authorities.
“We offer the option to pay over two payments of £37.50 within three months, while other options include pay-as-you-go, or they can take out a Senior Fitness Membership which would be £12.50 per month with May free.
“Depending on how often a customer wishes to use the facilities would influence which option is the cheapest for them, and if they are not confident about which suits them best, they are welcome to call our membership number, 01698 476165, and we will be happy to help with advice and more information.”
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