- Apply links menu
- Adult learning course list
- Housing Benefit or Council Tax Reduction
- Allotments list
- Jobs at the Council
- Bus pass
- Library membership
- Carer's assessment
- Council housing services
- Planning applications
- Council tax and business rates
- Property licence
- Disabled parking
- Recycling and waste services
- Free school meals
- School places
- HomeChoice Bristol
- Social services assistance
- Pay links menu
- Report links menu
- My Account links menu
The Active Choices Scheme is currently under review, if you need to make a referral please contact 0117 922 4719.
Referrals are no longer being accepted at South Bristol Sports Centre. The alternative Active Choices facilities in South Bristol are The Park Health and Fitness Suite and Hengrove Park Leisure Centre.
What is Active Choices?
'Active Choices' is Bristol’s physical activity referral scheme. It is a 12 week scheme that provides support and guidance by qualified instructors for people with stable medical conditions, whose quality of life can be maintained or improved through taking part in regular physical activity.
Health professionals who can access the scheme on behalf of their patient include GPs, physiotherapists, hospital consultants and practice nurses.
Who is the scheme for?
To enrol on the scheme a person must:
- be 16 years or older
- be inactive (i.e. participating in less than 30 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity per week)
- have a stable medical condition that, in the opinion of your health professional, would benefit from regular participation in physical activity.
Examples of relevant medical conditions include:
- Overweight / Obese
- Mild / moderate depression
- Mild skeletal and muscular injuries
- High blood pressure
- Type II diabetes
- Type I diabetes
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Parkinson’s disease
- Multiple sclerosis
- Stroke / TIA
- Back care
If you would like to be referred or have any questions or queries about whether this scheme may be of benefit to you, please discuss it with your health professional or contact us on 0117 922 4719.
How the referral process works
If you and your health professional decide you are suitable for the scheme, your health professional will complete the necessary forms and send them to the scheme.
How the scheme works
Your contact details and medical history will be sent to an Active Choices venue (details below). You will receive supervision and support over a 12 week period from a trained exercise specialist.
Before deciding where you would like to attend you must consider the waiting list time of the venue, the cost of that venue and the activity timetable (i.e. when you can access the venue).
How much does it cost?
Prices vary at each participating centre. See Active Choices costs and waiting times. (pdf, 17 KB) (opens new window)
The Active Choices scheme takes place in a gym environment with a specialised instructor. If you do not need specialist supervision but would like help to start walking, swimming or cycling, your health professional can complete an enquiry form on your behalf.
You will then be contacted by an expert in your chosen activity who will provide advice and information on local provision in your area.
Background to the scheme
The Active Choices scheme is developed and co-ordinated by Bristol City Council Sport and Health Development team and delivered by several health partners across the city.
Active Choices referrals
People living with the conditions listed in group one and group two are suitable for the scheme. Group two patients are generally in less need of supervision when exercising. You may therefore consider “recommending” them activities (see below) rather than referring them to the Active Choices scheme.
- Hypertension stage 2 and below (<180 systolic or <100 diastolic)
- Type II diabetes (medication controlled)
- Type I diabetes (with adequate instructions regarding modification of insulin dosage depending on timing of exercise and warning signs)
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Parkinson’s disease
- Multiple sclerosis
- Back care
Group two: (see also recommended activities below)
- Overweight/Obese (with no other medical condition)
- High normal blood pressure (130 -139 / 85 – 89)
- Type II diabetes (diet controlled)
- Raised cholesterol
- Mild anxiety
- Mild/moderate depression
- Mild skeletal and muscular injuries
Exercise professionals that are 'GP referral' qualified are not trained to work with the following high risk conditions. People falling into these categories are not appropriate for the scheme and must not be referred.
- Hypertension: Systolic 180 and above - Diastolic 110 and above
- Phase III and IV cardiac rehabilitation (see cardiac rehabilitation page for information)
- Unstable angina
- Acute heart failure
- Palliative care
- Acute respiratory disease
- This scheme provides access to a limited number of supervised exercise sessions.
- Health professionals should discuss the various options and venues and the relevant costs and waiting list times with their patients before making referrals.
Please download the Active Choices quality standards document for more detailed information about the scheme.
Download: Active Choices quality standards (pdf, 400 KB) (opens new window)
Guidance on completing a referral form
- Complete the referral form with the patient, sign it and post it to the chosen location from the activity venue list.
- The exercise referral instructor at the location will contact the patient and invite them on to the scheme.
In accordance with the National Quality Assurance Framework for Exercise Referral Systems (NQAF), the referral form must be completed in full.
It may be unnecessary to make a full medical referral for your patient. If you consider your patient not to be in need of support from a specialist exercise instructor you can send an enquiry on their behalf.
- Complete the enquiry form. Select the activity from the list that the patient is interested in.
- The form acts as a “Doctors note”. It is your confirmation that the person is safe to participate in the chosen activity.
- The person will be contacted by an expert in their activity who will provide information on the nearest group/club/facility and general advice on the activity.
- Activity sessions are mainly held in the gym, however some Active Choices facilities also offer swimming sessions, Tai Chi, Pilates and a simple circuits class. Please ask your Active Choices Instructor for more information about the activity options available to you.
- The patient participates in these activities at their own risk. The activity 'leader' is not trained in exercise prescription for people with medical conditions.
- This is not a referral.
The scheme requires good communication between health professionals, the scheme co-ordinator and delivery partners in order to ensure it operates efficiently.
We ask that referrer’s provide as much feedback as possible about any problems with the processes or concerns with delivery partners. Please contact the scheme co-ordinator on email@example.com
We ask that your health team or GP surgery is registered with the scheme and that a key contact person is designated, along with their contact details. If you are not listed in the registered health teams and surgeries (pdf, 23 KB) (opens new window) document or do not know who your key contact is, please contact us on 0117 922 4719.
The initial induction will take place with a qualified referral instructor at one of the following locations. Please click on the individual venue link for more information on each site.
Brunel Fitness Centre Tel: 0845 094 9354
Address: Speedwell Road, Kingswood, Bristol BS15 1NU
Centre for Sport, Exercise and Health (CSEH) - Tel: 0117 331 1159
Address: University of Bristol, Tyndalls Avenue, Bristol BS8 1TP
Easton Leisure Centre Tel: 0117 903 1628
Address: Thrissell Street, Easton, Bristol BS5 0SW
Greenway Centre Tel: 0117 950 3335
Address: Doncaster Road, Southmead, Bristol BS10 5PY
Henbury Leisure Centre Tel: 0117 353 2555
Address: Avonmouth Way, Henbury, Bristol BS10 9NG
Hengrove Park Leisure Centre Tel: 0117 304 8200
Address: The Boulevard, Hengrove Park, Bristol BS14 0JZ
Horfield Leisure Centre Tel: 0117 353 2540
Address: Dorian Road, Horfield, Bristol BS7 0XW
Kingsdown Sports Centre Tel: 0117 903 1633
Address: Portland Street, Kingsdown, Bristol BS2 8HL
Merchants' Academy Sports Centre Tel: 0117 301 5006
Address: Molesworth Drive, Withywood, Bristol BS13 9BL
The Park Sports Centre Tel: 0117 377 3382
Address: Daventry Road, Knowle, Bristol BS4 1QD
If you have a question regarding a specific site, you can contact the site directly on the number below.
Active Choices venue contacts:
- Brunel Fitness Centre: Ephie Rowe: 0845 094 9354
- Centre for Sport Exercise and Health: Chris Rock - 0117 331 1159
- Easton Leisure Cente: Alistair Macfarlane 07825 033 741
- Greenway Centre: Kara Penney 07531 00 9371
- Henbury Leisure Centre: Alistair Macfarlane 07825 033 741
- Hengrove Park Leisure Centre: Andrew Bond 07903 244 978
- Horfield Leisure Centre: Jana Novotna 0117 353 2540
- Kingsdown Sports Centre: Alistair Macfarlane 07825 033 741
- Merchants Academy Sports Centre: Kara Penney 07531 009 371
- The Park Sports Centre: James Whitham 0117 3773382
Please click on the link below to download the activity timetable for all Active Choices sites.
Please click on the link below to download the Active Choices information leaflet.
Links to local service providers
Bristol Primary Care Trust
Bristol Primary Care Trust is a new organisation that is responsible for local NHS health services in Bristol, UK.
Sports and Leisure Management Limited
The council’s three stand alone pools, three leisure centres and two sports centres are owned by the Authority and are now managed on our behalf by a professional leisure management company called Sports and Leisure Management Limited (SLM).
Links to local and national charities and organisations
Arthritis Care aims to make a positive difference to the lives of people with all forms of arthritis.
Asthma UK is the charity dedicated to improving the health and well-being of the 5.2 million people in the UK whose lives are affected by asthma.
Back Care is an independent national charity that helps people manage and prevent back pain.
British Heart Foundation
Charity fighting heart and circulatory disease.
The largest organisation in the UK working for people with diabetes, funding research, campaigning and helping people live with their condition.
Multiple Sclerosis Society (Bristol Branch)
For information on the current research, treatment and lifestyle advice regarding multiple sclerosis.
The National Osteoporosis Society (NOS) is the only UK national charity dedicated to eradicating osteoporosis and promoting bone health in both men and women.
Parkinson’s Disease Society
Provides support, advice and information for people with Parkinson’s Disease, their carers, families and friends.
Register of Exercise Professionals
Provides information on the qualifications that fitness professionals require to work with special populations. Find your exercise referral consultant on the register.
The Stroke Association
Information about strokes, including other people’s experiences and links to local services.