Lewisham leisure centre reopens for first time since March

By: Grainne Cuffe
The Glass Mill leisure centre in Lewisham has reopened today for the first time since the first national lockdown.

Most of the council-run leisure facilities were closed during the pandemic, with the exception of Downham Health and Leisure Centre, which opened with limited services in July.

Some were due to open last month, but the second national lockdown blocked the plans.

Glass Mill has reopened in Tier 2 under new management after Lewisham Council cut ties with Fusion Lifestyle over the summer.

Up until August, the borough’s leisure facilities were managed on behalf of the council by two contractors, 1Life for the Downham Health and Leisure Centre and Fusion for the rest.

Fusion faced “significant financial challenges” because of lockdown, and said it was focusing on other areas, but the council also said it had received “very negative feedback” from users.

Downham has also reopened, along with Ladywell Arena, for athletics clubs only, while Forest Hill Pools and Wavelengths are expected to reopen on January 4, 2021.

Greenwich Leisure Limited (GLL), which was awarded a £1.4 million two-year contract to take over from Fusion, is surveying each centre to ensure they are Covid safety compliant.

This includes The Bridge and Bellingham, “which require a more comprehensive assessment before they open”.

According to the council it may not be possible to make all of the leisure facilities compliant if the cost is too high.

Councillor Andre Bourne, cabinet member for culture, jobs and skills said it continues to be “an extremely challenging time” for the leisure sector.

“But I’m pleased that, as London enters new restrictions we will be able to begin to reopen our leisure centres.

“Staff have been working hard behind the scenes to make sure our centres are Covid compliant and I know lots of our residents will be keen to get back to using the gym and swim facilities,” he said.

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