54 per cent of public sector health clubs and leisure centres at risk of closure without government help

By Tom Walker May 15, 2021

Tanni’s letter highlighted the devastating impact of the pandemic on public recreation facilities, as well as small and medium-sized fitness businesses. Images Shutterstock / Flamingo

Thousands of health clubs, swimming pools and recreation centers are threatened with permanent closure unless the government grants more financial support to the sector.

This is the stern warning issued by Ukrainian President Tanni Gray-Thompson in a letter written to Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

His strong-worded letter describes how more than 400 gyms, swimming pools and community centers have already closed since the start of the pandemic – and many more could follow.

She also stressed that the impact had been particularly severe for small and medium-sized businesses and said that failure to provide additional personalized support “will contribute to worsening our inequalities in health, inactivity levels. continuing to climb ”.

In the letter, Gray-Thompson urges the Prime Minister to follow through on the priorities set out in this week’s Queen’s Speech, which included a government pledge to “deliver national recovery from the pandemic that makes the UK stronger, healthier and more prosperous than before “.

The Queen’s Speech – which outlined the government’s agenda and priorities for the next parliamentary session – also included a pledge to tackle the impact of the pandemic on public services.

While the speech spoke of preventative care to support the health and well-being of the nation, the physical activity sector has so far received only limited tailored support.

In her letter, Baroness Gray-Thompson writes: “I am writing to ask for your support, and for you to intervene personally, to ensure that thousands of gymnasiums, swimming pools and recreation centers are able to remain open and continue. to support communities across our country.

“In 2020, we have welcomed your commitment to ensuring that Britain rebuilds itself healthier and happier from Covid-19. And again this week, we were pleased to see the Queen’s Speech set out the government’s priority to ensure a nationwide recovery from the pandemic that is making the UK stronger, healthier and more prosperous than ever before.

“However, while acknowledging this ambition, it deeply concerns me to see a gap between ambition and reality which sees a continued lack of financial support for the facilities that will be integral to improving the health of the nation.

“In order for us to reverse this tide of inactivity, we need to ensure that the infrastructure for the sport and physical activity sector is able to survive and recover from the long shutdowns that operators face. ‘facilities.’

The letter follows a new survey by ukactive, which found that more than half (54%) of leisure centers in England operated by trusts or under leisure management contracts (LMC) are at risk of shutting down within six months, unless they are extended. funding.

• To read the entire letter, Click here

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