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UNIversal Gym Membership scheme

UNIversal Gym Membership Scheme

PLEASE NOTE: Any individual (student or staff) who has taken out a annual peak membership at their institution of study or work that has opted into this scheme should visit the following page for further information. You will need to speak to a member of staff at your university gym should you wish to take advantage of this membership.

The following information is linked to the members of staff at universities interested in opting into this scheme. 

A sub-group of the BUCS Physical Activity and Health board has come up with an attractive proposition to offer to student members that will increase the likelihood that when they move away from their university town of study (either temporarily during vacation periods or permanently after graduation) that they use / join another BUCS member facility rather than a competitor facility. The focus of this offer is keeping active people active, increasing the likelihood that active students continue with their exercise out of term time (rather than stopping during periods when they are not based at their host institution) and in doing so also keep income within the sector. This scheme is also open to university staff. 

What does the UNIversal Gym Membership Offer universities that opt in?

Participating universities will benefit from a reciprocal arrangement where they agree to offer any student or staff with annual peak membership from any other participating HEI (referred to as “tourists”) free use of their gym on an unlimited basis between 1 September and 31 August each year.

Participating HEI’s will be able to outline the exact facilities that “tourists” can access and stipulate any restrictions around excluded facilities to tourists whose home facility is within close proximity. 

Annual members at participating HEI’s will be issued with a pre-designed card at the time they join their “home” facility which will show the “home” institution, membership expiry date etc. and which will need to be shown along with a valid student/staff photo ID to gain access to any participating HEI gym.

What are the benefits to a university that opt in to the UNIversal Gym Membership?

- Increased annual peak membership sales and associated income (especially relevant for HEI’s who have had to move to offering monthly payments to compete with the growing budget sector);

- Reduced annual attrition rates;

- Increased continuation rates of student and staff members from year-to-year;

 - More students continuing with their physical activity all year round.

How will health & safety be managed?

Any “tourist” member will simply need to complete a new Health Commitment Statement (HCS) at the “tourist” gym when they make their first visit. Upon satisfactory completion of the HCS the “tourist” member will be free to start using the new facility for no charge.

Monitoring and Evaluation

It has been agreed that any university that wanted to opt into the UNIversal Gym Offer would create a way of monitoring “tourist” member attendances at their HEI so that we could see what the actual take up of “tourist” member use was in any given period of time. 

PLEASE NOTE: From the 25 May 2018 new General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) will come in to play. Any data that you collect from UNIversal Gym members visiting your facilities will need to comply with these new regulations. 


Participating HEI’s will be provided with the UNIversal membership cards to give out to members and provided with artwork for posters and banners that they can produce locally as required.


- July 2017 -Idea launched at BUCS conference and HEI’s invited to sign up for first phase of the initiative.

- August/September 2017 -Tourist membership card & promotional posters/collateral sent out to participating HEI’s. 

- September/October 2017 - Promotion of scheme starts at participating HEI’s.

- May 2018 – Review impact from participating HEI’s

- September 2018 - the scheme started into it's second year with even more institution sign ups

A document with Q & As on the UNIversal Gym Membership can be found here.

If you have queries regarding the UNIversal Gym Membership scheme for 2018-19 please email Dave ConnellAndy Allford or Abi Dean. 

Universities that have confirmed their involvement for the 2018-19 year so far are:


Universities supporting the scheme 2018-19:    
Aberdeen Newman University University of Hull
Bournemouth University Northumbria University University of Kent
Brunel University Nottingham Trent University University of Leeds
Buckinghamshire New University Oxford Brookes University University of Leicester
Canterbury Christ Church University Royal Holloway, University of London University of Lincoln
Cardiff Met Sheffield Hallam University University of Liverpool
City, University of London Solent (Joining in April) University of Manchester
Coventry University St Mary's University Twickenham University of Nottingham
De Montfort University Staffordshire University  University of Plymouth
Edge Hill University University College London University of Portsmouth
Goldsmiths University of London University of Aberdeen University of Roehampton
Keele University  University of Bradford University of Sheffield
Kings College London  University of Bristol University of South Wales
Kingston University University of Chichester University of Southampton
Lancaster University University of Cambridge University of Stirling
Leeds Beckett University University of Derby University of Surrey
Leeds Trinity University University of East London University of Sussex
London School of Economics and Political Science University of Edinburgh University of the West of England
London South Bank University University of Essex University of Warwick 
Loughborough University University of Exeter University of Winchester
Manchester Metropolitan University University of Glasgow University of Wolverhampton
Middlesex University University of Gloucestershire University of York
Newcastle University University of Hertfordshire   

Last Updated: 21 January 2019, 66 HEI's supporting the scheme

 *If you have yet to re-sign up/ sign up to 2018-19 please to so HERE *



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