People living with Parkinson’s and their carers are being given free gym membership at a Brentwood leisure centre for swimming and group exercise classes.

The Brentwood Centre has an agreement with Parkinson’s UK charity for people like Karen Cottrell, who was diagnosed with the condition in 2022 at the age of 48.

“A diagnosis at my age can be a mental challenge, not just physical,” she says. “But knowing I have gym facilities without worrying about the financial burden feels like someone is fighting in my corner.”

Parkinson’s, a neurological condition which has no cure, affects around 145,000 people in Britain according to Everyone Active.

Tom Ingram, from Parkinson’s UK, said: “A regular physical activity habit can feel more in control when living with the condition. Quality of life is enhanced and independence and confidence maintained.”

The centre, run for Brentwood Council by Everyone Active, has activities for all ages, ability or fitness levels.