Frequently Asked Questions

What is re:fresh?

re:fresh is Blackburn with Darwen’s overarching approach (and brand) to leading healthier lives and living longer.  The focus of re:fresh is improving physical activity levels and engaging the public with positive health messages about making better choices and being more active.  A significant part of this is achieved via additional infrastructure to increase physical activity levels including engagement/support staff and subsidised physical activity opportunities in a range of settings.

What do we hope to achieve?

To improve the health and well-being within the borough by:

    • increasing levels of participation by adults
    • decreasing the number of adults doing no physical activity

The programme will also contribute to the overall aim of improving all age cause mortality statistics and reducing the death rate from all circulatory diseases.  Through the commitment to enhance family activity provision and expand junior swimming, the project will also contribute to tackling the incidence of childhood obesity.

Why is re:fresh changing?

Reductions in Government funding mean that the Council faces many difficult financial challenges but still remains committed to making leisure services as affordable to the public as possible.  Although no longer free, the charge will remain heavily subsidised.

Established in 2008, re:fresh has provided a programme of free leisure for 8 years to a wide range of the borough’s population, helping to turn around poor local health statistics, many of which were linked to physical inactivity.

Effective 1st August 2016, users will be asked to pay £1 per person to access selected gym, swim and court sessions that are currently free of charge under the re:fresh scheme.

Who qualifies for re:fresh?

Adults (16 and over) who live, work, are in full time education or whose GP practice is in Blackburn with Darwen qualify for the re:fresh leisure programme.  Children and families will be able to take advantage of activities on weekends.

What is available?

The following activities will be provided through re:fresh to leisure card holders at a cost of £1 per person unless otherwise stated:

Regency fitness gym sessions



Booking restrictions apply – please call the centre for details

Community Activities


What about children?

Any children with a leisure card attending re:fresh Weekend Swim sessions at Blackburn Sports and Leisure Centre or Darwen Leisure Centre will be charged 50p – please visit the leisure sites website pages for more information.

re:fresh Parent and Toddler sessions will cost £2 per session and this will cover 1 adult and up to 2 pre-school children.

Children under 1 will remain free to all swimming sessions.

Are any activities and leisure facilities exempt?

The use of Regency gyms at Blackburn Sports and Leisure Cntre, Darwen Leisure Centre and Witton Park Arena outside of the times stated above are not included within the scope of this initiative.  They are deemed to operate on a commercially competitive basis alongside private providers in the borough.  The current leisure memberships and concession pricing policy for use of these 3 fitness gyms will be retained.

Block booking of facilities by leagues and clubs are also exempt from this initiative.  The re:fresh offer is focused on providing opportunities and support to help individuals take responsibility for their own health and encourage healthier, more active lifestyles.

How do I take part in re:fresh?

To take part all you need is a leisure card.  To apply for a free leisure card,  click here or visit one of the Council’s leisure facilities.

What proof will be required to obtain a free leisure card?

One of the following forms of identity will be required to obtain a free leisure card:

Work – wage slip and/or ID badge with photograph, which states the company is in Blackburn with Darwen, letter on company headed paper

Live – utility bill, driving licence, bank statement

Education – letter on headed paper, ID badge stating full time education

GP with BwD – letter on headed paper or stamped with surgery details, doctors card stating which GP the patient is registered

How can I find out about activities near where I live?

This website provides information about all sorts of activities and events in Blackburn with Darwen, including leisure centre sessions, community events and activities offered through private providers.  All activity information is located in the Activities section of the website.

The Wellbeing Service can also be contacted for further information on 01254 682037.

What if I lose my leisure  card?

Replacements leisure cards can be purchased at reception, at a cost of £1.

What if I forget my leisure card when attending a re:fresh leisure activity?

The full cost of the session will need to be paid.

Do I need to bring a photograph?

No.  A photo will be taken at the leisure centre reception.