Leicester's De Montfort (DMU) has become the 50th university to join the UNIversal Gym membership scheme in Britain.

The scheme is being piloted during the 2017-2018 academic year and was designed by the British Universities and Colleges Sport (BUCS) Physical Activity and Health Board.

It aims to give students and staff the opportunity to remain active the whole year round, no matter where they are in the country.

Speaking about the reasons why the university opted in, Tracy Glover, sports facilities manager at De Montfort, said: "We are delighted to offer De Montfort University students this additional benefit to their membership. 

"Not only does it further enhance the student experience, but from a business perspective it provides an additional incentive, alongside the current investment of over £380,000 ($507,000/€425,000) in upgrading our gym equipment, for members to purchase a full year membership."

Emilie Fairnington, a DMU graduate sport development assistant with her UNIversal Gym card ©BUCS
Emilie Fairnington, a DMU graduate sport development assistant with her UNIversal Gym card ©BUCS

Sport development manager Katy Young added: "The UNIversal gym membership is a fantastic initiative from BUCS. 

"The opportunity for our sports club members to train at student-focused facilities whilst away from the DMU campus is of real value. 

"We hope that many of our students will take up this offer to continue training. 

"That students across the country can remain active regardless of location or time of year is of real value."

Dave Connell, the director of sport at the University of Hertfordshire, and Andy Allford, the associate director at King's College London, have been key players in the development of the scheme.

"We are really pleased that we have already hit our ultimate year-one goal of 50 universities signing up to be part of the pilot year for the UNIversal Gym membership scheme, and it would be fantastic to grow this number even further before the end of this semester," they said in a joint statement.

"This has long been an aspiration for the sector to collectively work together to add value to our staff and student gym members, helping decrease barriers to exercise outside of term time. 

"It is great to see that this is now happening.

"We will be working with those universities within the scheme over the year to understand the impact and take the learnings so that we can build the offer further in the future."