A free gym membership scheme which has helped thousands of Brummies to get fit could be the latest victim of spending cuts.
The £4 million Be Active project triggered more than a million visits to leisure centres and swimming pools since being launched last year.
But funding for the scheme, which comes from the Government and the city’s Primary Care Trusts, is at risk in the future.
The Government has stopped paying for under 16s and over 60s to use sports facilities, leaving the PCTs to step in with emergency funding covering children, adults and pensioners.
But with primary care trusts set to be abolished within the next two years, the future of Be Active is in doubt.
Aimed originally at the city’s poorest areas where levels of unemployment and deprivation are high, the free gym sessions were quickly extended to cover the whole of Birmingham.
The city council, which administers the scheme, has held urgent talks with the PCTs and has been able to guarantee funding until next March.
Council leisure boss Martin Mullaney said it would be a tragedy if Be Active fell by the wayside.
Coun Mullaney (Lib Dem Moseley & Kings Heath) added: “It’s been a brilliant scheme, and very popular.
“Birmingham has for years had far fewer people participating in sport that most other cities, but now for the first time we are not only going to hit targets but exceed them.
“We are in discussions with the PCTs but things are in a state of flux because nobody knows quite what is going to replace these bodies or the budgets that may be available.
“They are very enthusiastic about keeping the scheme running so hopefully we will be able to extend it beyond next March.”
Labour leisure spokesman Muhammad Afzal accused the government of being short-sighted by withdrawing funding.
Coun Afzal (Lab Aston) said: “If necessary the council should try to find funding from existing budgets to keep this scheme going.”