As with many other areas, leisure centres have been hard hit by the coronavirus outbreak, leaving many councils and their leisure partners stretched to the limit financially.
This week the Local Government Association called on Government to urgently boost funding to leisure facilities to ensure they stay open to all communities. This intervention came after the LGA found that hundreds of leisure facilities could close permanently or may be unable to reopen without urgent funding, damaging the nation’s health and undermining the Government’s plans to tackle obesity.
Derbyshire Dales District Council, which outsourced the operation of the Dales centres to Freedom Leisure two years ago, is supporting this intervention and also a letter sent by the LGA to the Culture Secretary, Oliver Dowden, to further highlight concerns and to seek a solution.
Freedom Leisure has made it clear that without additional government support for leisure services there is a huge funding gap when taking into account the cost of running the facilities with all the additional measures that need to be put in place. These include physical distancing, which will impact on capacity, and the high levels of cleanliness and hygiene required.
In a joint statement, Freedom Leisure and the District Council said:
“We understand that residents are looking forward to going back to their local leisure centre and we hope we can reopen our facilities very soon, and welcome customers back to a safe environment in line with best practice guidance.”