Rugby leisure centre extends free access scheme for refugees

Big demand for scheme in Rugby

Asylum seekers in Brussels.
Asylum seekers in Brussels.

A leisure centre in Rugby has extended its successful free access scheme for refugees.

Leisure operator and social enterprise Better launched the scheme earlier this year in the wake of the war in Ukraine.

The scheme has seen huge demand with over 3,000 sign ups across the UK, in its first three months, with the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Centre in Rugby seeing some of the greatest demand. The popular leisure facility has issued 75 free memberships since May as part of the refugee programme.

The scheme initially offered new refugees who had entered the UK within the last 12 months a free three month membership at a Better-operated leisure centre – this has now been extended to six months and is open to both adults and juniors. If recipients are still classified as refugees after this period they will be eligible to transfer onto Better’s discounted concessionary membership scheme.

Commenting on the extension of Rugby initiative, Lisa Fletcher General Manager for the Queens Diamond Jubilee Centre said: “We have been delighted by the success of Rugby scheme to date.

"The war in Ukraine and the arrival of many Ukrainians in the UK highlighted the plight of refugees from all over the world and we wanted to do our bit to help.

“We all know the mental and physical health benefits of sports and exercise and we hope that by offering these free memberships we will enable refugees to more easily integrate into UK society and enjoy some positive recreational activities.

“The initiative builds on similar schemes that have been implemented by Better in the past, for example in response to the displacement of people during the peak of the Syrian war.”

Anyone wishing to apply for the free refugee membership scheme should complete an online form at