Today, we were very disappointed to hear the government announcement regarding the continued closure of gyms, swimming pools and leisure centres across the UK.
We wanted to reassure you, that we are doing everything we can to ensure a safer, better and stronger approach to welcome you back to our centres. We are working tirelessly with UKactive, Community Leisure UK and other key governing bodies and leisure operators, to ask that the government re-evaluates its approach with easing lockdown, so that we can look to re-open essential community facilities as soon as we can.
We understand that for many of you, our local Better centres are a lifeline to enable you to get out and about, to socialise, learn new skills and, ultimately to keep fit and healthy.
As a charitable social enterprise, our gyms, swimming pools and leisure centres operate for the benefit of everyone's health and fitness in the local communities we serve. Exercise is so important for both mental and physical well-being, and it's becoming increasingly important to support COVID-19 resilience and rehabilitation.
There are some helpful tips below on ways to help support your local community gym, swimming pool and leisure centres, and to have your voice heard to persuade the government to take positive action to re-open essential community facilities.
Mark Sesnan, our CEO is passionate about getting our communities back on track, and wanted to share with you our next steps for how we will move forward together.
To our valued members...
I share in your disappointment at this recent news. The government has made a potentially catastrophic mistake by leaving community leisure centres, indoor gyms and swimming pools off the list of businesses that can re-open on 4th July. Nor given any indication when they might re-open. This needs urgent review and we need to open as early as possible.
This will be bad for business, bad for jobs and bad for the health of the nation. The failure to re-open will result in:
- Vulnerable businesses, (including many not-for-profit organisations) within the sector folding. After 12 weeks of lockdown this is already happening
- Thousands of leisure industry jobs being lost
- Many community leisure facilities closing for good
This appears to demonstrate that the Government is ignoring the health of the nation when it has been proven that conditions such as obesity and diabetes significantly increase the risks associated with COVID-19.
We all enjoy a pint. But if pubs and restaurants can re-open it defies logic that indoor sports and leisure facilities remain closed – particularly public facilities designed to serve local communities. This decision appears misguided and short sighted. We need an opening date for our sector immediately.
We will do everything we can, with the support of you our members, UK governing bodies, and with our fellow leisure operators to work to overturn this decision.
Thank you again for your continued support during this time - and we will keep you regularly updated on when we we are able to reopen, as soon as we can.
Mark Sesnan, CEO
Exercise your right: how you can help...
There are lots of ways you can help support us to overturn this decision and have your voice heard. We want to support everyone in the leisure industry, so that we can get everyone back enjoying activities that help them feel more confident, fit and healthy.
What you can do...
- Tweet your local MP
- Write to your local MP
- Sign a petition
Our friends at Swim England have provided some helpful tools to help you raise awareness about the importance of re-opening pools in the UK - but this doesn't have to be just about swimming! You can do the same for gyms and leisure centres too!
Please help support your local community by taking meaningful action to help overturn the government's decision. Why not follow us on on social over on our Twitter and Instagram and help add your voice to the debate - and you can even use the hashtag #openourpools
To write to your MP or sign the petition, simply click on the links below.