A FIFE Pickleball player has blasted changes in fees at Fife Sports and Leisure Trust after the sport was excluded from new membership fees.

The trust member previously had sessions covered under their silver membership but she says the changes which were launched at the start of the year will mean forking out an additional £45 a month on top of her £30 subscription.

She explained: "Fife Leisure has been championing Pickleball for well over a year now and it has become extremely popular with the number of weekly classes increasing massively in 2023.

"Up until now this was included as part of their Silver membership. However, with their new membership which launched on January 1, the cost will increase for most pickleball users. This is despite FSLT claiming it is 'designed to enhance our members overall experience'.

"I currently pay £42 per month for my membership which included pickleball sessions. I believe this will drop to £30 per month but l currently play three times a week, which will now cost £3.80 per session so an additional £45 per month on top of my £30 per month membership. Apparently this to ensure that it remains accessible for all!"

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A spokesperson for Fife Sports and Leisure Trust said changes in membership had been introduced to create a more flexible offering to customers, providing them wider access to the facilities at a competitive price.

"Previously, our memberships offered various product price points, which grew over time and needed review and modernisation," they explained.

"Taking our members' feedback into consideration, along with the market changes within our industry, our newly launched membership aims to offer more value. It will introduce a digital offering too.

"The good news is that many customers' monthly memberships have reduced prices. For example, customers previously on a gold, diamond or platinum membership type now stand to save anywhere from £7-£22 per month."

The trust says that after reviewing pickleball activities and identifying its surge in popularity, a decision was taken not to include it in the new 'club' or 'lite' membership.

"Both new memberships offer unlimited services, and it would be unfair on Pickleball players to guarantee that we could honour unlimited play in these two membership products given the growth of the sport and the fact some classes are full with reported wait lists," explained the spokesperson.

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"Nevertheless, we want to make sure we consider all customers and are pro-actively working towards launching a dedicated ‘Club Play’ soon, attracting Pickleball enthusiasts.

"Until we launch this, Pickleball players have a few options for playing. They can play Pickleball on a pay-as-you-go basis at £5 per session.

"Alternatively, if they have a membership with us, they can receive a members-only rate of £3.80 per session. That is, of course, until ‘Club Play’ is launched which will still offer fantastic value to customers.

"We are working through developing this product offering, and we hope this will be a welcomed addition to Pickleball players when it is released."