A Winchester gym is offering free membership for all refugees living in the city.
Energie Fitness, based above the Brooks Shopping Centre, are giving three months free access for all Ukrainian - and other - visitors staying here.
But they’re being blocked from promoting the offer at Winchester City Council’s weekly hub because the authority says it would breach their contractual agreement with Everyone Active, who operate the new leisure centre at Bar End.
Mimi Simmons, Manager at Energie Fitness, says; “We responded to a call from Winchester BID for local businesses to help Ukrainian refugees coming into Winchester and felt Energie Fitness could offer them a fantastic opportunity to aid their physical and mental wellbeing while they’re here.
“We feel the City Council unfairly blocked a service we were offering our guests because of their relationship with the existing leisure centre operator.
“I strongly disagree with this and can't understand why competition and politics is being taken into the debate of refugees health and wellbeing.
“We are quite happy to attend along side Everyone Active and feel very disappointed that our own council are unwilling to help promote this free service in order to benefit their own alliances.”
Local MP, Steve Brine, who dropped into the gym (Friday) to help promote the offer added; “Energie have made a generous and thoughtful offer so it’s extremely disappointing they’re not being helped by the council as they might by what looks like a really unfortunate conflict of interest.
“The city council might wish to think again and stand with an independently owned local business trying to do the right thing.”
Pictured; Mini Simmons with Steve Brine MP at the Middle Brook Street gym.
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