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PUBLIC-OWNED leisure centres in Basildon and Wickford will offer their services to emergency workers and frontline NHS staff for free this Christmas break, said Basildon Council.
Everyone Active, which runs three leisure centres for the council, said members of the emergency services would be allowed to use its gyms and swimming pools at no cost.
The offer is valid at the Basildon Sporting Village, Pitsea’s Eversley Leisure Centre and the Wickford Swim and Fitness Centre.
Emergency workers and NHS staff will be allowed free access to the facilities between Monday, December 23, and Tuesday, December 31.
A council spokesman said: “The goodwill gesture is being made in recognition of the hard work the emergency services carry out, particularly over the Christmas period, when they are working long sand unsociable hours away from family and friends.”
David Bibby, managing director at Everyone Active, said: “We respect the hard work emergency services and NHS colleagues carry out all year round to protect the health and wellbeing of local communities.
“At Christmas, many colleagues will work especially long hours and additional shifts to keep us all safe and well.
“This initiative is our way of showing our appreciation for the invaluable work they do.”
Wickford councillor David Harrison, chairman of the council’s Neighbourhoods and Public Spaces Committee, added: “Emergency services and NHS staff work tirelessly all year round and whilst we all take a step back to relax at Christmas, they are still on the frontline, keeping us safe.
“I commend this thoughtful gesture from our leisure operator and would like to take this opportunity to wish all those who are working throughout the festive period a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.”
*Workers who take part will have to fill in health and safety forms and complete an online induction, but will then be granted ‘free and unlimited access’ to the centres. They will have to show a valid emergency services ID card.