Newport Live – a charitable trust which provides, sport, leisure and cultural services across the city – decided to work with other providers to offer a single pass across the area so that local restrictions did not leave people prevented from using their nearest venue.
The result was Gwent Live – an umbrella organisation consisting of Aneurin Leisure (Blaenau Gwent), Caerphilly County Borough Council Sport & Leisure Services, MonLife (Monmouth), Newport Live and Torfaen Leisure Trust.
Customers who had a membership with one leisure provider were able to attend their local gyms or leisure centre whilst the local lockdown remained in place.
“The challenge was to keep customers active, who, through no fault of their own, found that their local area had gone into lockdown and so they couldn’t use the facilities that they normally use,” says Ward.
“Or, they might have been working in one area and living in another, with facilities having closed. This co-operation meant they could use their local facility, even if their membership was for a facility further afield, say near their workplace.”
Active Gwent was initially intended to run until October 31, but it was extended to cover the firebreak period – even though facilities were closed and the help and advice was virtual through online offerings.
But such has been the success in keeping people able to do some kind of activity on their doorstep, the concept is likely to stay.
“Active Gwent will continue because we as partners have talked for a while about having an Active Gwent card, and membership, and about having customers able to move across borders,” adds Ward.
There will not though, says Ward, be a single unified pass across the region that enables access to all facilities - simply because of variations in what authorities can offer and capacity limits.