UWE Students’ Union Official Statement 24.10.2011

The UWE Students’ Union Executive Committee believes that UWE must allow students living in UWE/Unite city centre accommodation to opt out of the Frenchay Campus gym membership and refund the students any monies owed.

Students living in UWE/Unite accommodation in the City Centre currently have UWE Frenchay gym membership included in their rent. There is no option to opt out of this.

Many students living in this accommodation are Bower Ashton students and therefore have no need to travel to Frenchay.

The majority of students affected at Bower Ashton are telling us that they would actually like to use a gym are saying they would like want to join the new 24 hour gym in Cabot Circus because the hours are flexible, it’s accessible, it’s bigger and the charges are at a competitive rate (£15.99 per month with NO contract allowing them to cancel if they want to – they can also freeze their membership when not using it).

Furthermore Bristol City Council offer the ‘Everyone Active Card’ another cost competitive option for those that want to use the gym without committing to a contract and regular monthly payment. There is a registration fee (£23) and induction if they wish to use the gym but after that its £4.50 per time they use the gym – A pay as you go system, perfect for those times when money is stretched a student cannot afford to go.

Both of the options above give the students the freedom to make their own decisions with regards how, when and where they use/do not use a gym.

There are many more gyms in central Bristol closer to the halls than the bus journey to Frenchay, with most of them offering NUS discount and the opportunity to freeze memberships and most importantly NO contracts so they are not tied in.

Many students keep active in different ways. Some play sport or join a society. It should be a student’s choice if they buy gym membership or invest their money into keeping active in different ways. For many students their reasoning for not joining clubs and societies is for financial reasons.

Many students keep active in a cost free way. Some people have no need to use a paid for gym membership because they are happy to go running outdoors, do sit ups and pushups in their accommodation and use big bags of Sainsbury’s basics rice as weights or other large household objects. Those students who are conscious that they could keep fit for free are being ripped off.

There is also an additional cost to be considered when the Wessex Red service does not run regularly enough on the weekend to be deemed a flexible enough service for students who could be walking across the road to access a 24 hour gym.

Considering the current financial climate with prices of fuel and food both going up on a daily basis, for UWE to continue to withhold the extra monies paid by the students for a service that they do not wish to use is incomprehensible.

Sincerely,

Colin Offler

UWE Students’ Union President

Chair of the UWESU Executive Committee