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ukactive has spoken out in favour of sweeping NHS proposals to create 10 “Healthy New Towns” that would pilot new ways to place physical activity at the heart of communities.

Under the proposals, those who meet weekly activity targets could be offered discount gym memberships, savings on weekly supermarket shopping and sports gear, or free cinema tickets. Plans would also see housing developers offering free bikes with new homes, while streets would feature public gyms, adventure areas and sprint tracks.

ukactive appeared in several national newspapers, including the Telegraph, Times, Sun and Daily Mail, to drive the case for the physical activity sector – urging the Government to “rip up the rulebook for town planning” and “embrace innovative solutions to get people back on their feet.”

ukactive CEO Steven Ward and Public Affairs Director Huw Edwards were also interviewed on TV and across a range of radio stations, including Victoria Derbyshire Show on BBC2, BBC Radio 5Live and TalkRadio, noting that incentivised gym memberships could provide a creative method to encourage people to be active. Ward added that “incentivisation has worked in supermarkets to make us buy more food so why shouldn’t it work for getting people more active?”

Ward also noted the opportunities for gyms and leisure centres to help make “physical activity the beating heart of Britain’s Healthy Towns.” He called for a £1bn investment in Britain’s current crop of leisure facilities to create wellness hubs as the focal point of these new Healthy Towns – harnessing the physical activity sector as a new preventative frontline for the NHS.