Along with others around the town, Falaise Fitness and Summerfields Leisure Centres reopened to the public on Saturday following the further relaxation of lockdown restrictions.

However, their reopening was in part made possible because Hastings Borough Council‘s cabinet agreed in early July to award an undisclosed sum to Freedom Leisure, a not-for-profit trust, to continue running the centres on its behalf until 31st March 2021. 

PICTURE: Jon Dunham

Both centres have undergone some significant changes and now require customers to book advance slots to use facilities or attend classes.

One-way systems have been put in place with hand sanitiser stations and wipes available throughout. Only cashless payment is accepted and customers must give their contact details to support the Government’s track and trace system.

Gym equipment has been spaced out and sessions and classes will contain fewer people to enable social distancing to take place.

Swimming sessions are restricted to 30 people per session over three wide lanes with swimmers required to pick a lane and remain in it for the duration.

While changing rooms at Falaise are not yet open the poolside changing rooms and toilets at Summerfields are. However, visitors are encouraged to come ready to exercise or swim wherever possible.

”We are grateful for the support from Hastings Borough Council who clearly recognise the importance of their leisure service to the health and wellbeing of the residents of Hastings,” said Managing Director of Freedom Leisure, Ivan Horsfall-Turner.

“A lot of planning and work has already been done, and our focus is on making sure our centres are ready and provide the reassurance our customers need to return – their wellbeing and that of our staff is at the heart of our preparations to reopen.” 

Lead councillor for leisure, Maya Evans, said: “Freedom Leisure ensure that the centres provide affordable services and facilities for all ages and abilities. They provide vital physical and mental health benefits to residents, benefits which this pandemic has highlighted the crucial importance of.” 

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