THOUSANDS of parents could be missing out on discounts for local sport facilities, theatres, museums and cinemas via a little-known perk.
Local authorities can choose whether to give residents discount cards, often called Passport to Leisure or Leisure Cards.
As July approaches struggling parents will juggle all the costs associated with the school summer holidays.
So where can cash-strapped parents find help with the cost of family days out and summer activities? And how do you apply? We explain.
What is a Leisure Card?
A card that entitles you to reduced admission for a wide range of leisure activities including sport, theatre, museums and cinema.
While some councils offer them to all residents in other cases you need to prove you’re on a particular benefit in order to receive one.
Some cards are free, some have an annual fee, while others councils do not offer leisure cards.
For example, Bromley and Hounslow councils in London told us they no longer offer them.
Despite this, it’s definitely worth checking if your council offers a Leisure Card to cut the cost of family days out.
How much can I save?
It varies a lot. We found a postcode lottery of discounts available.
Swansea Passport to Leisure offers discounts of up to 60 percent off prices at Swansea leisure venues at any time during normal opening hours.
For example, swimmers pay only £2.35 at Wales National Pool instead of £4.75 (standard adult entry) or £3.25 (standard child entry).
In Birmingham a Passport To Leisure card gives you up to 50 percent off most activities at leisure centres and swimming pools.
Football fans can even enjoy £1 tickets for kids at Villa Value games at Aston Villa Football Club when accompanied by a full paying adult.
Manchester residents with a MCRactive card benefit from up to 30 percent discounts at most leisure centres and all national centres such as the UK National Cycling Centre.
Cardholders are even automatically entered into a monthly free prize draw to win sport, event or technology prizes.
In Leeds, families with the LeedsCard can enjoy a host of discounts on attractions, restaurants and shops.
Cardiff residents save at Better leisure centres and pay only £23 a month for membership. That’s a saving of £84 a year.
The Bradford Leisure Card offers reduced admission for activities including public swim sessions and Doe Park Water Activities Centre.
Theatre fans can get between 9 percent and 29 percent off tickets to musicals, dance shows and pantomime at the Alhambra Theatre.
Some shows offer half-price tickets which are available from noon on the day before the performance.
If you live in York, a YorkCard acts as a library card and discount card to leisure centres and museums.
For example, we found 20 percent discounts for the Jorvik Viking Centre.
Other council cards offer less lucrative discounts.
As an Active Leicester membership card offers 10 percent discount on activities at eight leisure centres in the city.
How much do they cost?
Again, it varies a lot.
Some cards are free, most have a small annual fee.
For example, the MCRactive card is free to all residents.
Passport To Leisure card in Birmingham is £6 for the year.
The most expensive card we found was the LeedsCard that cost £12.50 a year, although it costs only £3 if you are on Universal Credit or another benefit.
Who can apply for a leisure card?
Again, it varies.
The MCRactive card seems to be exceptional being free to all residents.
We found most leisure cards were cheaper for students, older people and those on Universal Credit and other benefits.
People who may qualify for a Leisure Card
YOU may qualify for a Leisure Card
You may qualify if you are:
- 16 or 17 years old
- 60 years old or over
Or if you claim:
- Jobseeker’s Allowance (contribution based)
- Employment and Support Allowance (contribution based)
- Personal Independence Payments
- Disability Living Allowance (High or Middle Rate)
- Carers Allowance
- Fostering Allowance
You, your partner and dependants under 16 may qualify if you receive:
- Housing Benefit
- Council Tax Reduction (not Single Person Discount)
- Income Support
- Jobseeker’s Allowance (income based)
- Employment and Support Allowance (income based)
- Pension Credit Guarantee Credit
- Universal Credit
- Working Tax Credits
Another great day out is Warwick Castle – get two FREE tickets to Warwick Castle worth over £55 with Sun Savers
We also have ideas for saving money on planned trips and the chance to win £50k in The Sun Raffle.
There’s also still the chance to enjoy a London trip and get two FREE tickets to Shrek’s Adventure or the London Dungeon if you collect the necessary codes!
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