Local leisure centres in Southwark announce plans to reopen

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Local leisure centres in Southwark are set to reopen, after being given the ‘green light’ by Prime Minister, Boris Johnson.

Camberwell Leisure Centre, Dulwich Leisure Centre, The Castle Centre, Peckham Pulse Leisure Centre, Seven Islands Leisure Centre, Surrey Docks Fitness and Watersports Centre, Geraldine Mary Harmsworth Sports Facility and Southwark Athletics Centre, which are managed by sports and leisure operator Everyone Active on behalf of Southwark Council, will reopen their doors on Saturday 1 August. The news comes after the facilities were forced to close for almost four months due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The swimming pool facilities at these centres will be reopening for lane swimming and clubs from Thursday 20 August, with a lane booking system in place. The Everyone Active Learn to Swim Programme will also commence from Saturday 22 August. All customers will be communicated to directly regarding the details for reopening.

The Government update on 9 July confirmed leisure centres are now safe to reopen facilities, with strict operational measures in place. Everyone Active procedures will ensure social distancing is managed throughout the centres and regular cleaning is maintained.

Whilst its 200 leisure centres across the country have been closed, Everyone Active launched a comprehensive package of online workouts for people to do whilst on lockdown, along with streaming live classes across its social media pages. It also pledged to donate half the cost of a membership to charity – The National Emergencies Trust – if customers continued to pay. Consequently, the operator raised over £400k for those most in need during the pandemic.

Mark Basker, Everyone Active’s regional contract manager, said: “We’re very much looking forward to reopening the centres and welcoming back the local community. After being closed for nearly four months, this latest announcement from Government is the news the leisure industry has been eagerly awaiting. Giving people the opportunity to resume activity and exercise in their leisure centre will go a long way to maintaining the good health of local communities.

“We’ve been overwhelmed with the support we have received from customers during these unprecedented times, and we’re so grateful. Like many other industries, leisure has been greatly affected by the lockdown.

“Ensuring our colleagues and customers remain safe is our number one priority and we have carefully considered the strict measurements to ensure we adhere to the guidance. We will be contacting all customers directly over the coming days regarding the centres reopening. We look forward to welcoming everyone back and thanking them for their patience.”

Cllr Peter John, Leader of Southwark Council, added: “We are happy to be inviting people back to our leisure centres this weekend as we know many residents have been missing the opportunity to go to the gym. We’ve been working closely with Everyone Active, to reopen as soon as we could, while making sure our facilities can operate safely.

“We know lots of people have improved their fitness during lockdown by running, walking and cycling outside; and we hope this interest in exercise will continue over the summer and beyond. We also ask residents to be patient with leisure centre staff, as access to our leisure centres will have to be limited so that all visitors can socially distance and follow our safety advice.”