Exercise referral

We run two exercise referral schemes for inactive residents with medical conditions. Start-Up and Healthwise can help people who would benefit from leading a more active lifestyle.

The schemes can help people with conditions including high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, osteoporosis, mobility problems, depression and more. They can also help people living with and recovering from cancer and cardiac conditions.

The schemes provide the following activities:

  • Tailored individualised gym programmes
  • Long-term condition circuit classes
  • Recreational swimming
  • Cardiac rehabilitation
  • Stroke rehabilitation classes
  • Cancer rehabilitation
  • Weight management activity sessions at Chesterton Sports Centre (See below)
  • Dementia friendly swimming

Each scheme lasts 12 weeks. During this time you can access the Start-Up or Healthwise facilities at a reduced rate. Specialist exercise professionals will provide support, assistance and supervision throughout the referral process and beyond.

free 12-week course of exercise referral is currently available to some patients. If you are registered at the East Barnwell, Arbury Road or Nuffield Road surgeries, ask them for a referral form.

Free Botanic Garden walking tours

Exercise referral members are invited to join a guided walk through the beautiful Cambridge University Botanic Garden.  Come and see the gardens change through the seasons. Four tours are available free to exercise referral members throughout the year and places must be booked in advance. Please click below for further information:

Referral process

If you have a medical condition or disability and want to become more active, talk to your health professional.

Consultations with an exercise referral instructor are available at:

  • Abbey Lesiure Complex, Whitehill Road
  • Parkside Pools, Gonville Place
  • Chesterton Sports Centre, Gilbert Road
  • Hills Road Tennis and Sports Centre, Hills Road
  • Cambridge University Sports Centre, off Madingley Road
  • Trumpington Sports Centre and Clay Farm Community centre

Information for health professionals

The following information is for health professionals who want to register with the scheme and learn more about it.

How to make a referral

The following health professionals can potentially refer to the Start-Up scheme:

  • Doctors
  • Nurses
  • Occupational therapists
  • Physiotherapists
  • Dietitians

This is in accordance with the National Quality Assurance Framework for Exercise Referral Systems (NQAF).

In order to refer patients, health professionals must first register with the scheme (see application and documents below).

When we receive your request, we will advise you by email whether you've been granted permission to start referring patients.

Please do not refer patients before we've granted permission. We aim to grant permission within 7 days of registering.

By agreeing and completing the registration form, health professionals will be registered with our Start-Up and ExSite schemes. They will also be registered with the South Cambridgeshire Active and Healthy 4 Life scheme. You'll then be able to refer patients to both schemes.

Referral forms are also available (below). Referral forms should be completed and given to the patient, as it is their responsibility to make an appointment.

Application and documents


For all exercise referral enquiries contact the Start-Up and ExSite team via email at startup@cambridge.gov.uk or call 01223 458646.

To receive regular updates, tell us your name, email address, whereabouts you live and your sporting areas of interest. Updates are sent at least once every three months.

Leave feedback