UKRI Leisure Centre Project - Arthritis Action

Arthritis Action has joined up with Good Boost, ukactive, Orthopaedic Research UK, ESCAPE-pain to create a health and fitness group that will research and pilot a project called the UKRI Leisure Centre Project.

Together we are working with staff at leisure centres and swimming pools to support people living with arthritis and musculoskeletal (MSK) conditions and transform these centres into local community MSK hubs. This pilot project is exploring how the untapped potential of leisure centres can help 20 million people living with arthritis and MSK conditions in the UK. By helping these people to access support in staying mobile and healthy we can relieve the burden on our healthcare system and save billions of pounds for the NHS.

The project was designed after 18 months of research and working with older adults living with arthritis and MSK conditions, healthcare professionals and ukactive leisure operators. It has received funding from UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) as part of their Healthy Ageing Challenge.

Physical activity sessions are available, and these include:

  • ESCAPE-pain 6-week in-person course involving an instructor led set of exercises developed specifically for back, hip and knee osteoarthritis.
  • Good Boost water, tablet based session in the pool. Using AI developed from a specialist clinical team, the tablet will prescribe exercise to help manage your symptoms. This is done in the water by yourself, without a need for an instructor.
  • Online access to Good Boost Move Together virtual rehabilitation app in which participants will be able to access weekly online exercise sessions, either individually or within online groups. Using AI developed by a specialist clinical team the app will prescribe exercises for you that are specific to your condition or symptoms.

Participants will also have access to tablets with self-management resources from Arthritis Action including:

  • Planning and goal setting.
  • Sleep and musculoskeletal conditions.
  • Distraction and Relaxation.
  • Gadgets and aids for arthritis.
  • Mental health and emotional wellbeing.
  • Nutrition and weight management.
  • Pain management.
  • Staying active.
  • What is self-management.

You can book sessions by phone, email or in person at leisure centres. Each centre will be setting its own prices, so please check on their website or give them a call to confirm. Some of the participating leisure centres are also providing peer support coffee mornings so you can meet up with other people and share tips and hints about arthritis and MSK conditions.

Depending on your goals, (such as strengthening your legs, increasing muscle mass) leisure centre staff can suggest the most helpful resources available in this project to help you to manage your arthritis. Regular exercise has so many benefits; it helps you to be more mobile, contributes to weight management, strengthens bones, and muscles and plays a key role in mental wellbeing as it lifts low mood.

You do not need to have reached a certain level of fitness to take part. This project has starting points for everyone, and the exercises involved will be based on an individual’s condition and symptoms and personalised to their needs.

Participating leisure centres


Everyone Active, Winchester Sport & Leisure Park, Winchester

Everyone Active,  Tudor Grange Leisure Centre, Solihull

Everyone Active, Moorways Sports Village and Water Park, Derby

GLL, Arcadia Library and Leisure Centre, Manchester

GLL, Hough End, Manchester

Freedom Leisure, Perdiswell Leisure Centre, Worcester

Northern Ireland: 

GLL, Olympia Leisure Centre, Belfast

GLL, Grove Wellbeing Leisure Centre, Belfast

GLL, Lisnasharrah Leisure Centre, Belfast

GLL, Andersonstown Leisure Centre, Belfast


GLL, Eastern Leisure Centre, Cardiff

GLL, Western Leisure Centre, Cardiff

Newport Live, Newport International Sports Village – Regional Pool and Tennis Centre, Newport

Newport Live, Newport Centre, Newport


woman swimming in pool