Anger as new Doncaster leisure centre gym rules allow teens less time to exercise

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An angry mum and daughter have hit out at new rules at Doncaster’s leisure centres which give teenagers and young people limited time to exercise.

Doncaster Culture and Leisure Trust, which runs the city’s lesiure centres, has introduced new timetables which mean young people must be out of the gym by 5.30pm during the week and 5pm at the weekend to make way for adult members.

But the move has come under fire from kean gym goer Katie Whittle and her mum Michelle, who says her 15-year-old daughter will no longer be able to properly keep fit at the end of her school day.

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Said Michelle: “The changes to the pass have made it unusable for my child to attend the gym.

New timetables and rules have been introduced at Doncaster Culture and Leisure Trust gyms, including at Armthorpe Leisure Centre.New timetables and rules have been introduced at Doncaster Culture and Leisure Trust gyms, including at Armthorpe Leisure Centre.
New timetables and rules have been introduced at Doncaster Culture and Leisure Trust gyms, including at Armthorpe Leisure Centre.

“I feel very strongly that children who attend a keep fit activity should be encouraged and not stopped."

Katie, who attends Edenthorpe’s Hungerhill School discovered the changes as she returned to Armthorpe Leisure Centre in the New Year.

Added Michelle: “She has attended Armthorpe for a long time now and she always visits Monday and Tuesday.

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“I dropped her off at the gym this week and moments later she rang me to return for her as she had been refused entry due to her membership being stopped from 4.30pm.

“She rang me in a panic. When I returned, I asked a member of staff what had happened and was told that youth membership had been stopped with effect from 4.30pm om weekdays to allow adults to enter the gym.

“Katie is in Year 11 and sits her GCSEs this year - she does not leave school till 4pm.

"By the time she gets home and changed for the gym its pushing 4.45 to 5pm before she can set off.

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"This has now made her membership useless and unable to use. The time barely gives children using the gym time to use the membership after school

“The crazy thing about this is her friend who she meets from time to time can attend at any time as she has already turned 16 but they are both in the same school year.

“How is this promoting fitness amongst children when they can only attend the gym out of school hours and then they cut it off at 4.30pm?

"I could understand it was 6 to 5.30pm, but not this early.”

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“I feel so strongly that children should be allowed to take part in fitness when ever they can, it’s a health lifestyle and after all this is a council gym not a private health centre.”

A spokesperson for Doncaster Culture and Leisure Trust, said: “Following member feedback and a review of youth attendance, we have made some changes to the hours that youth members can access the gym facilities across our leisure centres, these were communicated directly to our members in December.

“Youth members now need to have swiped to enter the gym by 4:30pm during the week and 4pm at the weekend, and they need to have left the gym by 5:30pm during the week, or 5pm at the weekend.

“We feel that these changes meet the needs of both our youth and adult members and allow everyone significant time to train within our facilities. However, feedback from our customers is of course always appreciated and we will continue to review the impact of the changes going forward.”

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Added Michelle: “Katie has been left really hurt by what’s happened and its made me feel so strongly about it that I have to do something to try and help the situation.

“The teens of today get such a bad press, situations like this don’t help the ones that are just trying to just do what’s good for them. The logic around these changes doesn’t make any sense at all.”

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