Leisure centres in Hertsmere have received a funding lifeline as the industry prepares to open its doors again following the temporary closure caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Hertsmere Borough Council, working with InspireAll Leisure and Family Support Services, have successfully secured just over £190,000 from Sport England’s National Leisure Recovery Fund (NLRF) to support The Venue, Bushey Grove and Furzefield leisure centres in the borough. The funding comes as all three centres get ready to re-open on 12 April, in line with the government’s roadmap out of lockdown. Leisure centres, as with non-essential retail, hotels, pubs and restaurants were all forced to close in December when Hertfordshire moved into Tier 4 restrictions.
The centres, which are owned by HBC and managed by InspireAll, have experienced a difficult 12 months, but hopes are the robust Covid safety measures in place, will encourage customers back into their gyms, swimming pools and other facilities.
Hilary Shade, the council’s Head of Corporate Support, said: “As we begin to emerge from the latest lockdown, I suspect that people will want and need to take part in activities again that boost and enhance their health and wellbeing.
“This funding from the Sport England’s National Leisure Recovery Fund will help us ensure that our leisure centres are ready to support people back into an active lifestyle in a safe and Covid-secure setting.
“There will be restrictions in place for a long time, but all three centres will once again soon be able to offer people a place to relax, unwind, energise and connect with others – all the things we’ve missed most during lockdown.”
Among the facilities across all three centres are the gym, e-gym, fitness classes, swimming pool, sports hall, outdoor pitches, beauty and thermal spa, soft play and PRAMA studios.
A plan is currently being developed for the phased re-opening of facilities within the centres, in line with the government’s phased lifting of restrictions. Further details will be available here.
Barry Ellis, Regional Manager at InspireAll said: “We are delighted that this grant will help us re-open. The benefits of a healthy lifestyle are well recognised and our activities have something to offer for everyone of all ages and abilities.
“After the recent lockdown we are looking forward to welcoming back individuals and families to their activities and seeing new customers trying out new things.”
The funding, administered by Sport England, on behalf of the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, is only available for publicly-owned leisure centres.
During lockdown, a new InspireAll app was launched, which provided members and non-members with over 100 on-demand and live-streamed classes, daily workouts and outdoor tracking.
App users will continue to be able to book classes and activities, view class timetables, view swimming pool timetables and manage their account from the app. The app is free to download from the App Store or Google Play.