- Reading awarded £159k to help local leisure centres recover from the impact of the pandemic
- News comes as Reading prepares to safely reopen sport and leisure facilities in line with Government guidance
READING Council has secured £159,000 funding to support the recovery of its leisure centres.
The award is part of £100 million Government funding that has now been allocated to 266 local authorities across England, to support the recovery of publicly-owned leisure centres and gyms. The National Leisure Recovery Fund has been funded by the Government and is managed by Sport England.
Allocations will mean that publicly-owned leisure centres and gyms can begin preparations for reopening as part of Step Two of the Government’s spring roadmap. The lifting of restrictions will be subject to approval.
The news comes as Reading prepares to safely reopen its sport and leisure facilities in line with the government guidance. The current timelines include:
- March 29th – recommence outdoor activities. This will include clubs at Palmer Park, football sports pitches, tennis courts and outdoor gyms.
- No earlier than April 12th – limited indoor activities. This will include gyms, casual swimming sessions, children’s swimming lessons, and possibly some indoor sports hall activity at South Reading, Meadway and Palmer Park centres.
- No earlier than May 17th – other indoor activities; specifically the group exercise training programme.
More details will be available soon on the Council’s website https://www.reading.gov.uk/coronavirus-covid-19/coronavirus-how-our-services-are-affected/ and at http://www.readingleisure.co.uk/
Graeme Hoskin, Reading’s Lead Councillor for Sport, said:
“We are pleased to have secured this for our leisure service. This has been a really tough year for everyone – and the leisure industry as a whole has suffered both nationally and locally with the necessary restrictions that have been in place.
“This funding is timely as we begin to look to the spring roadmap out of lockdown and plan our leisure reopening with safety as our priority. We are very much looking forward to welcoming residents back to our leisure centres as soon as possible.
“The challenges we’ve faced this year have shone a light on how much we need sport and leisure as an antidote to the stresses, pressure and isolation we have faced during the pandemic.
“Sport and leisure will continue to aid our community’s recovery and wellbeing. I’m heartened, in such uncertain times, that with the help of this funding our leisure service can continue to successfully play this role going forward.
“Health has also always been a driving priority for our leisure service, and now more than ever after the significant impacts of Covid-19, our ambition to support Reading people and communities we serve to lead healthier, more active lives and to offer targeted activities to help reduce health inequalities, is more vital than ever.
“Alongside this funding, which will helps us to reopen our leisure services safely, we are also focussed on our longer-term commitment to providing first-class leisure facilities a town of our size and status deserves. We are investing over £40 million in modern new leisure facilities – including a new leisure centre and two brand new swimming pools – delivered in partnership with our leisure provider, Greenwich Leisure Ltd.”
Sport England’s Chief Executive, Tim Hollingsworth, said:
“Leisure facilities have a vital role to play in supporting the health of the nation and in particular in serving our more disadvantaged communities.
“They have been hit especially hard over the past year, so this investment is crucial and will help thousands to reopen when it becomes possible to do so – supporting the recovery and helping people get back to the activity they have badly missed.
“Sport England has worked at pace to enable the distribution of the investment to happen as quickly as possible and remains committed to doing what we can to continue to support this crucial part of our sector.”
Notes to editor:
Find out more detail on the funding here: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/government-announces-allocation-of-100-million-to-support-recovery-of-leisure-centres
Find out more on the New Leisure Project here: https://www.reading.gov.uk/leisure/sport/newleisure/