Further information about our membership price changes from 1 September 2018

Since our announcement about membership price changes in late June, some student members have requested more details about the reasons for these changes. We hope the following information is helpful in clarifying our position and future plans. 

We would also like to apologise for the timing of our announcement about these price changes that were first confirmed in late June. We are aware that it was very close to the end of term and not an ideal time to communicate significant changes. 

The decision to introduce this new annual £30 student fee and increased staff fees was inextricably linked with the Be Active strategy and our plans to refurbish our gyms and replace all equipment, works which are now currently underway. We therefore didn’t feel it appropriate to announce the membership fee changes without the confirmed news of funding for the gym works, which we received a short time prior to our announcement on 28 June.

Rationale for introducing annual fees for students and increasing existing fees for staff 

1. Our funding model was no longer sustainable 

Imperial has been very proud to have been able to offer free gym and swim to its students since 2006. Move Imperial, along with many of the College’s support services now face operating their services with either flat or reduced budgets, which has rendered our previous funding model unsustainable. 

An increasing student and staff population and subsequent rising sports participation rates, has meant a greater demand on our services and significant wear and tear of facilities. Meeting the needs of our members has become progressively challenging within these financial constraints. Charging this annual fee for students and raising the existing staff fees, for the first-time since 2014, will help to ensure that we can continue to offer quality facilities, services and programmes for all our community across as many sites as possible. 

Funds generated by student and staff membership fees will directly contribute to our strategic plans for Sport at the College. 

In the Autumn term we will release information on how Sport across College is funded and provide further details on the new funding model. 

2. Our top priority is to develop and improve our facilities, programmes and services to increase physical activity levels amongst ALL our students and staff across all our sites 


With such high usage in our gyms, much of the existing equipment has reached the end of its serviceable life. A new gym layout and mix of equipment will also help alleviate some of the existing capacity issues – a regular and widespread cause for complaint for many users. 

By making these membership price changes, we can deliver the following developments: 

  • Install new state-of-the-art equipment at Ethos, Charing Cross and Hammersmith gyms and ensure it remains in good working order. Read more about the gym refurbishment works.
  • Introduce an activity tracking and reward scheme app designed to encourage physical activity. 
  • Provide subsidised local gym memberships at Westway Sports Centre for students studying at White City Campus*, as well as discounted rates for staff.
  • Delivery of other key milestones outlined in the Be Active strategy 

*terms and conditions apply 

We appreciate that price increases are never welcome but funds generated from these fees will be invested into realising our long-term goals for College sport and physical activity, without which we will not be able to achieve much-needed developments. 

To further improve the membership benefits for students, free swimming during off-peak hours is now included in the Student Basic membership. This free membership is ideal for those who want to use Ethos facilities other than the gym. Once signed up, as well as swimming free of charge during off-peak hours, you can also book other centre facilities such as squash courts, at student rates. Find out more about the different student memberships available.

What benefits can you expect? 

In addition to the new developments and improvements outlined, students and staff can also: 

Have your say on how funds are spent – we want your input 

As part of these changes, we encourage you to have your say on how, if any, surplus income could be invested to help us achieve our long-term goals for sport at the College. We will let you know as and when these consultation opportunities arise over the next few months. 

Make the most of the new equipment 

All gym members will be able to book a free session with one of our qualified Active Lifestyles advisors/instructors so you can take full advantage of the new range of strength and conditioning equipment. Visit the Ethos gym page to book your session