Oxford City Council backs 'Save Leisure' campaign

It's written to the Government for cash to make sure local leisure centres can re-open from lockdown.

Oxford City Council is backing a campaign for £800 million from the government to save our 'struggling' public leisure centres.

It's written to the Culture Media and Sport Secretary, warning they need help to overcome the enormous financial impact of the coronavirus.

The first of Oxford's leisure centres began reopening yesterday, but affordable plans for getting the rest back up and running are still being worked on.

Up to 35% of leisure facilities nationally won't be able to reopen after their incomes were hit.

Community Leisure UK estimate that 48% of all public leisure facilities across the country face closure, meaning the loss of 1,300 centres by the end of the year, along with more than 58,000 jobs.

Oxford City Councillor Linda Smith says exercise is critical to protect people from coronavirus.

She said: "Despite wishing to reopen a wide range of facilities as soon as possible to encourage our residents to get active again, the costs are prohibitive with approximately £1 million of additional funding needed to open the centres until March 2021."

The Government launched its new Better Health campaign last week to encourage people to get fitter and lose weight as one of the ways to protect themselves from coronavirus.

Councillor Smith added: "The public leisure sector across the country is struggling, just at a moment when exercise and health are most critical to protect people from coronavirus. Public leisure centres are often in the most deprived areas, where there is no affordable alternative.

"We want to see the government backing its Better Health campaign with financial support for the public leisure sector, that's why I've written to the Secretary of State to add our voice to the #SaveLeisure campaign."

In Oxford, the gyms at Ferry Leisure and Rose Hill Community Centre are reopening and the Hinksey Outdoor Pool will open for 16+ lane swimming from Saturday (08/08)

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