Customer Update from Kevin Fordham, Managing Director, Your Leisure
Dear members and stakeholders,
I'd like to take this opportunity to update you regarding Blue Wave Hydrotherapy Pool and Gym Complex as I know how valuable to the local community this facility is. It has been a challenging 12+ months for everyone due to the pandemic, but I wanted to inform you in detail what has been happening behind the scenes and how we are looking to the future regarding Blue Wave.
Your Leisure was asked to consider assisting with the long-term viability of the Blue Wave complex in 2019 as a consequence of the Royal School for the Deaf entering into administration and the likelihood of the centre permanently closing.
Agreement was reached late in 2019 that the facility would transfer to Your Leisure from 1 April 2020 through a 15-year lease with Kent County Council as a way to protect the centre and ensure it remained a valuable community asset.
2020/21 A Time of Challenge
As we worked through the hand over in early 2020, unfortunately, the Covid-19 pandemic hit the country with the Government announcing the closure of leisure facilities on 20 March 2020, just prior to Your Leisure taking over the complex from 1 April 2020.
Not wanting to step away, we continued to transfer the business into our portfolio as we considered the impact of the national lockdown.
During this phase, with all the team being furloughed to protect local jobs, it was identified there were some considerable maintenance requirements as well as investment needed to become Covid-compliant that needed to be addressed ahead of reopening. This work has been hindered as a result of on and off lockdown/tiered restrictions.
A further challenge we faced, during the multiple phases of lockdown through 2020 and into 2021, was how to implement the required social distancing restriction in such a small facility, ensuring both customers and employees remained safe whilst providing a service in an economical way. With the facility, in real terms being closed and shut for 12 months, the implications of simply switching the facility back on also comes with risks to plant and equipment, therefore we have planned the re-opening to ensure that any unforeseen issues are rectified ahead of opening so the facility can stay open once opened in September and avoid having to close again for maintenance if these actions were not carried out properly by trained professionals.
Your Leisure remains committed to the re-opening of the facility and do realise that our current plans for a September 2021 reopening is some time away but please be assured the facility will open again. We ask previous customers and members to be patient and support us with this our plans as we try to rebound from this unprecedented time for businesses, the country and everyone.
We see the facility as a real asset to the area and believe we can bring about a long-term and sustainable future. There will be change ahead for the complex and we are focused on improving both the quality of the facility and services provided and engaging with a wide community audience to open up access to this hidden jewel.
We do apologise for any inconvenience that the delay may have and reiterate we are fully committed to reopening the Blue Wave Hydrotherapy Pool & Gym by September 2021 when, hopefully, the existing Covid restrictions have been lifted and customers can return to enjoy this fantastic facility.
Please keep an eye on our website and social channels for future updates around reopening plans.
Kevin Fordham, Managing Director, Your Leisure