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'Frustration' over gym and swimming pool return acknowledged by High Life Highland chief; September 14 pencilled in for return to leisure facilities at Highland sites


By Hector MacKenzie

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Dingwall Leisure Centre and swimming pool.
Dingwall Leisure Centre and swimming pool.

FRUSTRATED Ross-shire residents keen to get back to gyms and pools operated by High Life Highland are being assured everything is been done to assure a safe return as soon as possible.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon indicated yesterday that while schools will go back from August 11, the return to gym facilities is likely to be further delayed, with September 14 pencilled in.

High Life Highland, the culture and leisure charity responsible for the operation of many gyms and swimming pools across the region, gave a cautious welcome to the announcement regarding access to sport, leisure and fitness.

Steve Walsh: 'Our first and foremost priority remains the safety and health of our customers and our staff and we are hopeful that customers will understand the decision to reopen our sites is very much out of our hands.'
Steve Walsh: 'Our first and foremost priority remains the safety and health of our customers and our staff and we are hopeful that customers will understand the decision to reopen our sites is very much out of our hands.'
"I would like to reassure our many thousands of members and customers that our teams across all our locations are working hard and doing all they can to ensure HLH sites are ready to welcome everyone back on September 14." – Steve Walsh

Steve Walsh, chief executive of the charity said: “While yesterday’s announcement from the First Minister is not the news we have been hoping for, it does mean that we now have a date to aim for in terms of reopening our gyms and swimming pools across the Highlands.

“Staff have already been back reconfiguring sites to accommodate the Scottish Government’s social distancing measures and making sure we will still be able to deliver an enjoyable experience, but most importantly a safe experience when we welcome our customers back."

He added: “I am sure many of our customers will be frustrated that they are having to wait a bit longer for their return to our gyms and swimming pools.

“Our first and foremost priority remains the safety and health of our customers and our staff and we are hopeful that customers will understand the decision to reopen our sites is very much out of our hands.

“High Life Highland is keen to continue the role it has played in supporting those communities and to do its bit to suppress the spread of the virus and help prevent any possibilities of cases increasing in the region. We are continuing to deliver services online where possible and are currently trying to negotiate with the Highland Council for access to external sporting facilities within the shared school estate, to enable sporting activities to take place outside in line with the Government’s route map guidance.

“I would like to reassure our many thousands of members and customers that our teams across all our locations are working hard and doing all they can to ensure HLH sites are ready to welcome everyone back on September 14 into Covid-secure sites across the Highlands if the date is confirmed by the Scottish Government.

He said: “Despite the challenges our charity faces, High Life Highland remains committed to working with the Scottish Government to deliver its route map, as well as with partners in the Highland Council, sportscotland and Community Leisure UK to enable customers and members to return to their chosen activities when it is safe to do so.”

Related: Schools to open next month but longer wait for gyms

News from Ross-shire


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