District leisure centres set to reopen

Staff at leisure facilities in Bexhill and Rye are preparing to welcome back customers as Covid-19 restrictions are eased.

Bexhill and Rye leisure centres closed in March as the country went into lockdown in a bid to control the spread of the deadly virus.

But with measures in place to keep customers safe, and support from Rother District Council, Freedom Leisure is planning to begin opening centres from Saturday, July 25, with dates due to be confirmed locally in the coming days.

Cllr Jay Brewerton, Rother District Council’s cabinet member for young people, sport and leisure, said: “The lockdown, while completely necessary to slow the spread of Covid-19, had a real impact on people’s exercise regimes and we are delighted that these leisure centres, which are so important for people’s health and wellbeing, will be able to reopen with measures in place.

“To support the district’s leisure centres, Rother District Council has been able to offer financial support throughout the lockdown period, and will continue to do so while the industry recovers from the impact of the crisis.”

In order to make it as safe as possible for customers to return, Freedom leisure will be rearranging gym equipment and reducing the number of people attending classes to enable social distancing.  A booking system will be in place for all activities and visits will be time-limited.

There will be increased cleaning at the centres and a number of hand sanitisers stations will be installed.  Only cashless payment will be accepted and contact details will be taken to support the Government’s track and trace system.

Ivan Horsfall-Turner, Managing Director Freedom Leisure, said: “Freedom Leisure is delighted to be reopening the centres in Bexhill and Rye. Our teams are working hard to make sure the centres are ready and waiting to welcome back the local community, and we look forward to seeing everyone very soon.”

Details of opening dates and further information will be shared on local centre webpages and on Freedom Leisure’s Facebook page.

Since lockdown began, Rother District Council has been able to offer Freedom Leisure support to address the financial gap caused by the temporary closure of leisure centres.

At a meeting on Monday, July 27, Rother’s Cabinet will be asked to agree continuing financial support until March next year, to help Freedom Leisure overcome short-term pressures.

Members will also be asked to agree to put plans for the development of a new Bexhill Leisure Centre on hold, given the unknown financial implications of the Covid-19.

The full report to Cabinet is available at https://rother.moderngov.co.uk/ieListMeetings.aspx?CId=153&Year=0

For more information on the reopening of leisure centres in Bexhill and Rye visit https://www.freedom-leisure.co.uk/centres/bexhill-leisure-centre/ or https://www.freedom-leisure.co.uk/centres/rye-sports-centre/ or https://www.freedom-leisure.co.uk/centres/bexhill-leisure-pool/

Ends

Published: 17th July 2020