Free Gym Swim Southwarks site is a con

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Sunday 7 August 2016 3.49pm
On southwark webpage it offers free swim and gym, so I started to complete this section and then it went onto the local swim pool and stated that card details were needed for a charge to join for two months use, yet states its free for 12 months, has anyone else noticed this or tried completing this and see same as me? on the last page it wants your card details and I stopped at this part in case I end up getting charged for something that is supposed to be free. Has anyone else tried this offer and do you agree or have I some how made a mistake and it is really free. Just seems strange why they want my card details if its supposed to be free. It mentioned in their terms conditions about charges as well. Maybe someone else on here can check this out tell me what you think. link. https://www.everyoneactive.com/southwarkfreeswimandgym/

Thanks
Sunday 7 August 2016 4.22pm
If it's asking for card details you are filling in the wrong form.

The signup process is overly complicated and frustrating (I had to do the form several times in different browsers before it worked), but it's not a 'con'.

I filled out the details online and then had to give all the same information again in person, which seemed like unecessary duplication, but you emphatically do not have to pay anything to take advantage of the free swim and gym scheme.

Obviously there are paid-for options available too (the free sessions are only on Fridays [all day] and weekends from 2pm) and it is these that the terms and conditions refer to.

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Sunday 7 August 2016 4.34pm
Hi james

Ok thanks for the information and clearing this up for me, I agree it does seem rather confusing as noticed myself things there to click, one was all week and the other was what you mentioned about Fridays and weekends only. I am just wary when they want card details as then they have the upper hand to place a charge, but as I did not click forward to that part I left it, I may try again then, but agree as you said, they wanted all the details again x2, so why not just sign up at the pool then. Rather then making people go through it all twice.... I went through and completed it and just said to print out the membership copy, assuming they send a card of something for proper membership and not just a person having it on a4 piece of paper to show the pool...

Thanks for info....

James Hatts wrote:
If it's asking for card details you are filling in the wrong form.
The signup process is overly complicated and frustrating (I had to do the form several times in different browsers before it worked), but it's not a 'con'.

I filled out the details online and then had to give all the same information again in person, which seemed like unecessary duplication, but you emphatically do not have to pay anything to take advantage of the free swim and gym scheme.

Obviously there are paid-for options available too (the free sessions are only on Fridays [all day] and weekends from 2pm) and it is these that the terms and conditions refer to.
Sunday 7 August 2016 11.02pm
I wrote to Cll Maisie Anderson (Cabinet Member for Public Health, Parks and Leisure) on July 12:

Quote:
Hi Maisie,

Hope all is well with you, and am sorry that your
commitments will not allow you to attend this Saturday's
Arabic festival oranized by the DRA, Hubb: I'm sure that you
would enjoy it.

I write in regards to the new leisure centre at The Elephant
& Castle opposite the Draper Estate.

I would like you to read through this thread currently
active in the SE1 news website:

http://www.london-se1.co.uk/forum/read/1/205090

Do you agree that it isn't right that Southwark residents
wishing to find out what it is going to cost them to take
out a membership will only receive that info after they have
signed up?

If you do agree, can you please ensure that all costs are
clearly displayed on their website without residents having
to disclose their identity, or make any for of commitment
simply to find out what "the damage" is going to be?

This is not related to the free swim initiative: I already
have all the relevant info on that.

Please let me know your thoughts on this, and what you
believe is the best way forward.

Her reply came 12 days later, on July 24:
Quote:
Dear Julian

Many thanks for getting in touch. James had indeed passed on the message - apologies my response has been somewhat delayed. I will get back to you with a full response to the issues you have raised as soon as possible.

May I also take this opportunity to let you - and the rest of the DRA know - that the universal Free Swim and Gym offer (all day Friday, Saturday and Sunday afternoons) launches next Friday the 29th. Pre-registration is currently available through the Southwark Council website. This is a great offer for all residents and I hope that many of you will take it up.

I heard great reports of your Hubb event - I am very glad it was a big success. I was sorry to miss out, but was hosting a Friends of Parks Conference, followed by re-opening Camberwell Green.

Kindest regards

Maisie

Maisie referred to a forthcoming 'full response' and 7 days later, on July 31, I received it from Stephen Hopkins (I bolded some passages):

Quote:
Dear Julian

Thank you for your email 12 July 2016 with regards to the website displaying membership prices at The Castle Centre. Please accept our apologies for the delay in replying.

We have reviewed this with our leisure operators Everyone Active. Unlike privately owned leisure facilities, there is more than one price for a membership at a local authority centre. These include single, joint, family, concessionary/low income, exercise on referral, emergency services, armed forces and off peak to name just a few. If these are listed then it will be very confusing what membership type is best for them and what they would have to pay.

When people come in, call the centre or register their details online, the aim is to find the most suitable and cost effective membership for them which is sometimes cheaper than they first thought as they would not be aware of all the packages that are available to them. If customers do an online search for local gyms, then leisure centre prices will in comparison look more expensive then some budget gyms that are now opening in London. They also may not realise until they have joined a budget gym that there are no classes, no swimming pool and no staff in the gym and they may have been happier to pay a bit for more for the wider services offered at a Southwark leisure centre but may be put off by a confusing list of prices.

Everyone Active have confirmed that when anyone enquires about membership prices online they are asked for their details as part of the process and they are then given the correct price for their own circumstances however at this point there is no commitment to join. Everyone Active are currently in the development stages of reviewing this part of their website as they recognise the need to make things much easier for the customer.

You mentioned in your e-mail that you are aware of our Free Swim and Gym scheme, which has now launched for all Southwark residents but if you require any further details or would like to register for the offer please click the link below.

http://www.southwark.gov.uk/info/200087/sports_and_leisure/3689/free_swim_and_gym

Thank you for bringing this matter to our attention. If you have any further feedback on The Castle Centre then please do not hesitate to contact Stephen Hopkins, Leisure Contract Officer, who oversees the leisure centres by contacting him at stephen.hopkins@southwark.gov.uk

Many Thanks

Stephen Hopkins
Leisure Contract Officer
Sports and Leisure Services Team

I replied with a suggestion on the same day, but so far it remains unanswered and unacknowledged:

Quote:
Dear Stephen,

Thank you for your reply.

If I understand things correctly, the overall pricing structure is too complex for its terms to be easily understood by the public, so it has been decided not make it readily available online.
The fact is, such a page does exist (as I found out fortuitously since my original email to Maisie Anderson) but visiting the Everyone Active home page presents no link nor path to it.

Omitting this page on the grounds that it could be "confusing" could be interpreted as patronizing, or even contemptuous in respect of the intellectual abilities (or perceived lack thereof) of Southwark's residents.

I respectfully suggest that a direct, front page link to this 'secret page' be placed on the Everyone Active home page, and that LBS also have the link in the relevant section of its own .gov website.

Best regards,

I sense that Southwark isn't handling Everyone Active as well as it could, and as a result many Southwark residents are unable to find out in a straightforward way if using the borough's leisure centers is something they can afford or not.
Saturday 13 August 2016 8.06pm
found out my local pool is now closed until next year, so this scheme is of no use to me.
Tuesday 16 August 2016 10.29am
I signed up to this last week and went twice over the weekend. Pretty much as stated on the website.
Zoe
Tuesday 16 August 2016 3.12pm
Was it really busy at the weekend?
Tuesday 16 August 2016 8.35pm
Friday wasn't bad, Sunday a little more so.

No different to any other gym at peak hours really! It just depends when you go.
Monday 22 August 2016 3.49pm
I found it hideously packed every time I went. Lifeguards are beyond useless.
Monday 22 August 2016 5.38pm
What time did you go? Which site?
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