Hundreds of families getting back in the FAST lane

Families in Cherwell will be able to start using their FAST cards again from Saturday (25 July), giving access to big savings on health and wellbeing activities in the district.

Published: Friday, 24th July 2020

More than one and a half thousand families have signed up to Cherwell District Council’s scheme designed to encourage parents and children from areas with low recorded levels of physical activity to get fit together.

FAST venues are gradually reopening their doors after lockdown and with leisure centres welcoming guests from this weekend, FAST offers are being relaunched. These include use of leisure centre gyms for £2 per adult and child; bespoke fitness classes with Bicester personal trainers Everyday Active; and 50 per cent off bookings at Thrupp Canoe and Kayak Hire (some restrictions apply).

Cllr George Reynolds, Cherwell’s lead member for leisure and sport said: “Lockdown has been essential to help protect our communities from COVID-19 but it’s now just as important to provide opportunities to enhance people’s physical and mental wellbeing.

“The FAST programme has more than one and a half thousand families signed up, including more than three thousand youngsters. By restarting this project, we are not only improving the lives of those taking part but also supporting the businesses who have become partners in the scheme, giving them a welcome boost this summer.”

All FAST venues have strict COVID-secure guidelines in place, ensuring the safety of participants. Due to social distancing requirements, there are some limitations on numbers, so bookings are now essential.

Keely Weir is manager of Clip ‘n Climb Bicester and offering 10 per cent off for FAST card holders between Tuesdays and Fridays over the school holidays. Keely said: “We’ve worked extremely hard to make sure our climbing walls and vertical drop slide are ready for our reopening this Saturday. The team have had full COVID-secure training, we’re sticking to a strict cleaning schedule and new procedures are in place to ensure everyone’s safety.

“We’re really looking forward to welcoming our FAST families back this summer.”

FAST has been operating district wide since January 2020 after an initial programme in Banbury, supported by a grant from Sport England. The latest statistics show participants have increased their activity levels by 30 per cent since joining the programme with 96 per cent of adults and one hundred per cent of children saying they’ve enjoyed taking part.

The programme deliberately targets wards with known low physical activity levels. These include Neithrop, Ruscote, Hardwick and Grimsbury in Banbury; Bicester Town, Bicester East, Bicester West, Bicester South and Ambrosden; and Kidlington East and Kidlington West.

To find out if you’re eligible for a free FAST card.