Fitness fans joy as leisure centres reopen
29 Jul 2020
Hundreds of fitness fans were able to get back to their regular exercise routines as Active Northumberland sports and leisure centres opened their doors on Saturday,
following the easing of lockdown restrictions.
Nine key sports and leisure centres around the county reopened
for the first time in months with stringent new hygiene and social distancing practices in place to keep customers and staff safe and well.
To enable social distancing, the centres that have reopened are the bigger venues, which have lots of space. Initially there is a members only policy as a limited number of people are permitted into each exercise class, gym session and swimming pool. All activities must be pre-booked online.
Nicola Best who attends the Willowburn Sports and Leisure Centre in Alnwick said:
"I am thrilled to be back, I've missed the centre and the staff so much. I feel invigorated and so happy to be able to use the fantastic facilities once again."
Mark Warnes, Acting Chief Executive of Active Northumberland said:
We want our customers and employees to feel safe when they’re at our centres and we’ve worked incredibly hard to ensure that this is the case. There are new safety and social distancing guidelines in place, while cleaning schedules have been ramped up considerably and numbers in the centres are restricted.
“ We’ve been really encouraged by the response of our members, the vast majority of whom are keen to get back to the centres and start exercising again. We look forward to welcoming them back over the coming weeks.
“ We appreciate that it might be frustrating for some non-members who are not yet able to come into the centres, but we hope they understand the reasons why we have had to introduce this phased reopening. We hope this will just be a temporary measure and we will be monitoring the situation constantly to see when it is safe for more members of the public to return.
“ In the meantime, we are continuing with our daily facebook live exercise sessions which have proved really popular. There are also activities that non-members can participate in including Clip n Climb, and sports hall activities such as badminton, table tennis and short tennis. Our online booking for Ten Pin Bowling at Concordia and Wentworth will be opening shortly in readiness for our Saturday 1st August re-opening.
Northumberland County Councillor, Cath Homer, cabinet member for arts, culture, leisure and tourism said:
Sport and leisure centres have a key role to play in the recovery from the pandemic as exercise plays such a huge part in improving people’s physical and mental health.
“ Not all sports centres across the north east have reopened yet, so the fact that nine major sports centres in Northumberland have reopened, albeit on a phased basis, with a limited capacity, is a big step in the right direction. ”
Lisa Seccombe who attends Ashington Leisure Centre said:
“ There have been a lot of new measures introduced to keep everyone safe and numbers are restricted, so I was reassured by this and felt surprisingly comfortable coming back ”
New stringent cleaning measures that have been introduced include a thirty minute closure of all activities after each session to enable the thorough cleaning of equipment. There are also anti bacterial wipes available in the gyms for members to wipe down their equipment and hand sanitizer points throughout the centres.
The nine centres that have reopened are
Alnwick - Willowburn Sports Centre
Berwick - Swan Centre
Blyth Sports Centre
Concordia Sports Centre - Cramlington
Hexham - Wentworth Sports Centre
Morpeth - Riverside Leisure Centre
Ponteland Sports Centre
While Concordia, Blyth Sports Centre and Prudhoe Waterworld reopened on July 25th, the pools at these centres will reopen a little later.
The Pegasus Riding Centre at Tranwell near Morpeth has reopened for riding lessons.
Initially, for social distancing and safety reasons there will be a limit to the number of services, activities and classes available. For example, the cafes will be closed and the
GP Referral classes for residents with underlying health issues will continue to be suspended. An updated list of activities on offer will be available on the Active Northumberland website www.activenorthumberland.org.uk
urther information about the reopening can be found at https://bit.ly/reopeningwebinfo