RESIDENTS suffering from long-term health conditions could now benefit from a referral to one of Tendring’s leisure centres.

The Back to Health initiative, which is an extension to the existing GP Referral Scheme, will see patients being referred by a doctor to either instructor-led gym sessions, or one of the council leisure centres in Clacton, Dovercourt and Walton.

The scheme was launched by Tendring District Council in a bid to improve the well-being of residents who suffer from underlying health conditions.

Those include patients with heart disease, hypertension, obesity, stroke, diabetes, severe asthma, long Covid, mental health, some musculoskeletal conditions and cancer rehabilitation.

Councillor Lynda McWilliams, responsible for partnerships, said: “We want to improve the health of people with both mental and physical long-term conditions; this will not only give them a better quality of life, but also reduce the impact and pressure on our health services.

“As a member of the North East Essex Health and Wellbeing Alliance we understand that no one organisation – and certainly not just the NHS – can tackle health issues, which have deep roots in our day-to-day living.

“So by supporting partners with schemes such as this we can help to make everyone’s lives better.”

The cost for each activity will be £2.80.

After an initial six weeks of sessions participants will be assessed, with the option for a further six weeks if appropriate.

Following the completion of the 12-week course people will also qualify for reduced rate leisure centre membership for the rest of the year.

The Back to Health initiative will cost £30,000 and run as a 48-week pilot scheme.

Alex Porter, responsible for leisure and tourism, added: “Our leisure centres are great facilities open to all; but it makes sense to particularly support people with health conditions so we can help them to improve their quality of life.”