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Leisure facilities in southern Oxfordshire ready for the next phase of reopening

After recent assessments of the leisure facilities across southern Oxfordshire, South Oxfordshire and Vale of White Horse district councils have agreed with GLL, who run the “Better” centres, that the second phase of reopening can start and from the 14 September more leisure activities will be able to resume. 

On 25 July when leisure centres could reopen most of the centres across the two districts were able to do so under the government’s covid-19 guidance. However, with restrictions on social distancing and keeping the health and safety of staff and customers paramount not all the facilities at the centres were able to open from the start. 

The first phase of reopening has gone well with many residents’ returning to the leisure centres in South Oxfordshire and the Vale, keen to get back to the gym, fitness classes and the pool. The Wave in Didcot was the first pool in the country to be able to reopen with a mixture of lane and family fun swims.  

As part of phase two some of the leisure facilities that will be available are: 

  • Henley Leisure Centre, Wantage Leisure Centre and Faringdon Leisure Centre main swimming pools to reopen 
  • Swimming lessons restarting – with a reduced programme from before the lockdown  
  • School use of leisure venues  
  • Group exercise sessions in smaller studios not just taking place in the main sports halls 

As with phase one the centres have been individually assessed and facilities will only be able to open based on that centres ability to operate safely. Residents and customers are advised to visit the Better websites before attending to find out what is going to be available to them. It is still a requirement to book via the app before attending and anyone using the pool must arrive “swim ready”. 

Cllr Maggie Filipova-Rivers Cabinet member for community services at South Oxfordshire District Council said: “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 instructions of GLL staff to ensure that risk of transmission is minimised” 

Cllr Helen Pighills Cabinet member for Healthy Communities at Vale of White Horse District Council said: “Keeping healthy is important at any time, but 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 and keeping our leisure centres open and making other forms of activity available to our residents is a big part of that” 

Note for Editors: To find out about which facilities are reopening as part of phase two please head to the Better website