It was hugely disappointing for everyone working at Bluecoat Sports Centre to hear the news from the government that indoor gyms and swimming pools would not be allowed to open on July 4th as had been generally predicted. However, BCS is in the unique position of having an outdoor gym. The Fitness Yard, as it is known, was opened last year and has been a big success with the members and the current plan is to partly reopen BCS on the 6th July offering members the opportunity to use the outdoor gym and certain other outdoor facilities.
On 20th March BCS like every other gym and fitness centre in the UK closed its doors as the nation went into lockdown. Since then there has been huge levels of uncertainty among staff and members about when it would be able to open again and what the post Covid-19 gym, swimming and fitness class experience would be like. BCS is a sports charity and is situated in the grounds of Christ’s Hospital School, a mile and a half south west of Horsham. As well as being open to the public, it provides outstanding sports facilities for the pupils of Christ Hospital School.
While BCS has been closed and with most of the staff furloughed, a small team has been working very hard to develop plans and initiatives to help its members stay fit as well as planning for reopening. Online content has been made available to members which has proved to be very popular and this will be continued as BCS gradually starts to reopen.
The wellbeing of the members and staff will be a top priority and the aim, working within the new guidelines and rules, is to provide the safest and very best possible service and facilities for members to enable them to restart and maintain their fitness programmes. BCS staff have been going through a variety of training sessions covering different eventualities and helping to prepare them to make the new BCS experience as safe and as beneficial as possible for everyone.
Commercial Manager at Bluecoat Sports Centre, Mike Abbott said, “We were naturally all disappointed that we couldn’t open our full range of facilities on 4th July. However, we are very lucky to have an outdoor gym facility and hope that as many people as possible take advantage of it as well as the other outdoor fitness offerings we are planning such as Spin, Circuits, Yoga, Pilates and Body Balance and of course the tennis courts will be available. Our member visits will need to be more structured and organised going forward and will need to be booked through our booking system, Leisure Hub and will be PAY AS YOU GO. Nevertheless, we are determined to make the new Bluecoat Sports Centre experience as good as we possibly can for everyone”.
There will be strict limits on numbers of people in the outdoor gym at any one time, and after every session each area will be thoroughly cleaned by the staff. Members will also be asked to wipe over individual pieces of equipment when they are finished on them. There will be plenty of instructions for members within the centre and there will be separate entrance and exit doors with clear markings on the floor to indicate walking directions and social distancing guidelines.