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Mum's campaign after Sussex leisure centre charges for babies
11:30am Saturday 12th May 2012 in News
A campaign has been launched after a leisure centre started charging under ones.
Samantha Murray has nearly 100 signatures for her petition at change.org after being angry to discover a £2.25 charge for her baby at Downs Leisure Centre in Sutton Road, Seaford.
Babies used to get free entry if going to the centre with a sibling, but all infants are now charged a concessionary rate.
Mrs Murray, who has three children, discovered the changes when she took her five-day-old daughter to the centre.
She said: “I was really quite shocked at the price.
“I don't understand why they have done it, especially as they are a not for profit organisation.
“They didn't charge before and that extra money must be going somewhere.”
Mrs Murray said she had been told various reasons for the charge, from covering a recent refurbishment to insurance for the children.
The 25-year-old said a group of mothers held a coffee morning there but were now considering if they could afford to meet each week.
Fred Furner, managing director at Downs Leisure Centre, defended the move, saying the changes made the charging policy fairer for all.
He said: “We just think it is a fair price to pay.
“It is a very fair and competitive policy.
“We offer very good value for adults. We don't charge for adults to enter the Dinos play area.
“Some places do not charge under ones but charge adults.”
Mr Furner said the organisation was not for profit which meant any money made was reinvested in facilities.
This included £40,000 spent in December on the Dinos play area.
He added even if the child was too young to use the play area, it was likely the parents would use facilities such as baby changing and the tables and chairs there.
Mr Furner said he was aware of the petition and always took feedback seriously.
He added: “We always give this lots of thought and feedback is really important to us.”