Leisure centres offer residents more activities

MORE gyms, swimming pools and indoor sports courts have reopened across southern Oxfordshire to keep people active during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Following recent assessments of the leisure facilities South Oxfordshire and Vale of White Horse district councils revealed that further activities will resume from this week.

The first phase of reopening in July saw many residents returning to the leisure centres, keen to get back to the gym, fitness classes and the pool.

The Wave in Didcot was even the very first pool in the country to be welcome back customers with a mixture of lane and family fun swims.

Facilities, which reopened yesterday as part of phase two, include Henley Leisure Centre, Wantage Leisure Centre and Faringdon Leisure Centre with main pools reopening to residents.

Swimming lessons have also resumed with a reduced programme from before the lockdown.

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People will now also be able to join group exercise sessions in smaller studios, rather than in the main sports halls.

Councillor Maggie Filipova-Rivers, cabinet member for community services at South Oxfordshire District Council, pointed out how important it is that everyone follows the strict Covid-19 restrictions when visiting the facilities.

The councillor commented: “When I went to Henley Leisure Centre in July I was impressed with how hard the team at Better had been able to prepare everything to make sure staff and customers would be safe while getting back to the activities they enjoy.

“Staying active contributes to the general wellbeing of our residents but we ask that users follow the instructions to ensure that risk of virus transmission is minimised.”

As with phase one the centres were individually assessed when deciding, which facilities are safe to open again.

Residents eager to get back to their training routines are advised to visit the Better websites to find out what is available before arriving at the site.

The new Covid-19 restrictions also mean that people should book via the app instead of in person.

Anyone hoping to use the pools must also arrive ‘swim ready’, rather than change outfits in the dressing rooms.

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Explaining why the local authority was so determined to see more leisure centres reopened councillor Helen Pighills, cabinet member for healthy communities at Vale of White Horse District Council, commented: “Keeping healthy is important at any time.

“However, we know through Public Health England that to fight Covid-19 successfully we all need to be thinking about what we can do to stay active and keep fit.

“As a council this is something that we really want to focus on over the coming years.

“Keeping our leisure centres open and making other forms of activity available to our residents is a big part of that.”

To find out more about which facilities have reopened as part of phase two in southern Oxfordshire visit www.better.org.uk/leisure-centre/south-oxfordshire