Following the lifting of the government’s restrictions on leisure centre opening, Oxford City Council and leisure partner Fusion Lifestyle announced the first phase in reopening facilities in Oxford.
Hinksey Outdoor Pool will reopen from 8 August for lane swimming only, with further details still to be confirmed. Ferry Leisure will reopen later in the month with the gym, sports hall and some classes to start with. When the sites reopen things will run differently at first, and not everything will be available in the initial stages.
The City’s leisure partnership board, which includes user representatives and clubs, has been involved in drawing up arrangements for reopening.
The Council aims to have the ice rink open by October, with some maintenance to complete before it can reopen.
Assessments are being made with Fusion and in discussion with the user groups around the reopening of other sites. This could happen on a phased approach, with hygiene and safety being of paramount importance, and the financial impact also a consideration.
Oxford City Council has foregone the income it would normally receive from the leisure centre operations, and has provided a subsidy to Fusion since the start of lockdown. Reopening at this time of significant restrictions on how leisure facilities operate, brings additional costs and restricts income. To support public leisure provision the council has agreed to further subsidise the service for the remainder of this year. It is too early to say at this stage whether all centres will be viable to reopen within this timeframe.
The Council wants to help residents to stay active and has been working with Fusion to ensure there is some leisure provision in the city. Fusion will communicate to its customers the full details of reopening and the changes that are being made to manage coronavirus risk. Details will be available on their web site.
“It’s great news that we are able to start bringing back some of our leisure facilities for public access this summer. Hinksey Outdoor Pool and the Ferry Centre are both important amenities for local people, and it’s more important than ever right now to have opportunities to exercise and to look after our health and wellbeing.
“The facilities will be operating on a limited basis to start with and within the government’s safety guidance. Users may initially have to travel a little further to access our leisure services and will need to pay attention to the new rules for using the pool and gym, but this should not stop people getting back to their fitness routine or hinder anyone’s enjoyment of our excellent facilities. We hope more of our leisure facilities will be able to reopen over the next few months.”
Councillor Linda Smith, Cabinet Member for Leisure and Parks
"Members of the Hinksey Outdoor Pool User Group are delighted that the pool will finally be opening, although initially restricted to adults only and unheated. This valuable community facility will help to improve people’s physical and mental wellbeing."
Philippa Muir, on behalf of the Hinksey Outdoor Heated Pool User Group