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Plans announced for reopening of Southend leisure facilities
Members of Southend Leisure and Tennis Centre can now attend outdoor fitness sessions in groups of six as Fusion Lifestyle begin their reopening plan this week, in line with the Government’s roadmap.
Southend Leisure and Tennis Centre (SLTC) has been closed since 5 November 2020 as part of national restrictions. Following further restrictions in place, it has remained closed since. The other sites at Belfairs Swim Centre, Shoeburyness Leisure Centre and Chase Sports and Fitness Centre, have been closed for 12 months.
To support the reopening of the sites, the council has been successful in applying for £406,000 of funding through the National Leisure Recovery Fund (NLRF). This was set up by Sport England to support local authority leisure operators in reopening facilities across the country. To ensure that the reopening can happen, the council has also agreed to continue to temporarily waive the management fees from Fusion. A review of this will then take place once normal operations have resumed.
The proposed reopening timetable for leisure facilities across the Borough are, subject to the easing of Government restrictions based on the roadmap, as below:
- Monday 29 March – Members of SLTC can take part in outdoor group exercise, including an outdoor gym, athletics track and tennis facilities. Tennis facilities are also available in Chalkwell Park and Priory Park.
- Monday 12 April – Indoor facilities at SLTC such as the gym will reopen, along with children’s swimming activities and clubs.
- Week commencing 17 May – All leisure venues in the Borough will reopen to the public, limiting the number of people at any one time.
Scott Dolling, director for culture and tourism at Southend-on-Sea Borough Council, said: “As the roll out of the vaccine continues both locally and nationally, we are pleased to be in a position where we can set out our plans, in partnership with Fusion Lifestyle, to welcome people back to our much-loved leisure facilities.
“The NLRF money will be a huge help in enabling Fusion to provide this service once again in a safe and appropriate manner and will enable the reopening of our other sites sooner. I would like to thank Sport England for providing this fund. We have also agreed to continue temporarily waiving the management fees for Fusion to ensure they are able to operate effectively, and to ensure we are able to open the facilities to our residents as soon as possible. I would stress that the waiving of the management fees will be recouped largely through the Government’s income compensation scheme.
“Leisure facilities provide a welcome boost for both physical and mental wellbeing, and we know that our residents have missed being able to access them during the challenging months we’ve faced.”
Anthony Cawley, director of operations at Fusion, said: “We are really excited we will be able to start welcoming the local community back to our centres, which started with outdoor activities from this week. We know how important our leisure facilities are for the health and wellbeing of the local community so we will be doing our best to offer the choice of as many outdoor options as we can while we are waiting to open more facilities. I would like to thank Southend-on-Sea Borough Council for their continued support in enabling us to provide this essential service to local residents.”
For more information regarding the reopening of leisure facilities in Southend, please visit www.southend.gov.uk/sports-leisure