Leisure centres in Havant and Waterlooville will recover stronger and faster thanks to more than £265,000 of funding secured by Havant Borough Council.
The money is part of a £100 million National Leisure Recovery Fund, distributed by Sport England, to help publicly-owned leisure centres bounce back from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic lockdowns.
Horizon Leisure’s roadmap to re-opening saw both Havant and Waterlooville Leisure Centres re-open on Monday 12 April, with gyms, pools, swim school, crèche, gymnastics, pre-school bounce and gym tots re-starting.
The funds, bid for by Havant Borough Council, will help the centres recover financially from the last year and build towards the future.
Claire Hughes, Client Relationship Director for Havant Borough Council, said: “With leisure centres closed for significant periods in the last year, income has dramatically fallen across the leisure, sport and health fitness sectors across the country, including here in Havant.
“But while many residents have been keeping active, with more people walking, exercising outdoors or doing fitness classes online, the leisure centres have remained empty for large periods of the year.
“This funding, secured by Havant Borough Council, will give our local leisure centres the head start they need now they have opened again.”
Group exercise classes are currently scheduled to resume on 17 May.
Howard Broad, Horizon Leisure Centres Chief Executive, said: “It has been the most challenging year ever-experienced for the charity. The centres have been closed for nearly 10-months since March 2020 with zero income and ongoing running costs.
“The NLRF grant is most welcome and will help reduce our losses. The team at Horizon has been focused on reopening the centres on 12 April and we are looking forward to seeing all our loyal customers and colleagues again.
“Keeping physically and mentally fit and healthy has never been so important and we cannot wait to continue our vision of empowering communities to lead healthier, happy lives.”
Sport England’s Chief Executive, Tim Hollingsworth, said: “Leisure facilities have a vital role to play in supporting the health of the nation and in particular in serving our more disadvantaged communities.
“They have been hit especially hard over the past year, so this investment is crucial and will help thousands to reopen – supporting the recovery and helping people get back to the activity they have badly missed.”
Regular physical activity can reduce the risk of many chronic conditions, including coronary heart disease, stroke, Type 2 diabetes, cancer, obesity, mental health problems and musculoskeletal conditions.