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As life has been for most of us, the past 12 weeks have been a completely new experience for Atlantis Leisure’s hard-working team.
These have been unprecedented times, with historic firsts happening on an almost daily basis, but in the midst of so much change, the active outfit have been encouraged by what remains unchanged and have been struck by what’s actually been enhanced by coronavirus and lockdown.
For the Atlantis family, the overwhelming demonstration of Oban’s community spirit has been of particular note.
‘There’s been a whole new vocabulary brought into our daily conversation. Words like “unprecedented”, “furlough” and “quarantine” have gone from rare to commonplace,’ said Atlantis general manager Nick Wesley.
‘Despite that, however, we’ve seen our extended staff team coming together in a bumper WhatsApp group, sharing notes of encouragement to help each other through a situation that can seem pretty alien.’
Most of the aforementioned team remain on furlough but throughout the lockdown they’ve been willingly volunteering their time and collective resources in all sorts of freshly imagined creative ways to help the community.
Nick added: ‘Oban is community embodied, and at Atlantis we’re privileged to see that every day. But lockdown has given us the opportunity to see it even clearer and learn to listen to its reassuring message: there’s something on the other side of all this.’
One of the benefits of lockdown has been the way it’s given us all a bit more time to get out and enjoy our exercise and Atlantis operations manager Iwan Roberts and his wife Lindsay are really excited about how the community might maintain this active lifestyle.
‘They’ve set up a community project called “Wee Walk Oban”, which brings the community together through encouragement and resources for walking routes and sights around our town,’ explained Nick.
Day to day life at Atlantis may have become much quieter but the centre still requires as much care and attention as ever and the team have been busy making sure all the systems that keep everything working safely are maintained and operating as they should.
Nick continued: ‘Government restrictions mean our return from lockdown will require us to rethink how we operate.
‘As a start to this, we’re working hard to complete the necessary adaptations and changes needed to ensure everyone’s safety once we’re able to reopen. Initial changes will be seen around our reception area along with differences in the gym and sports hall.’
Small signs of familiarity are already making a very welcome return: tennis is back. It was a big day when the courts were allowed to reopen.
‘There are very strict guidelines from the government regarding how tennis should operate and we’re following them closely,’ added Nick.
‘It’s great to have activity buzzing around the centre again! There’s a return to a new kind of normal. It’ll be different and some things will have to change for the long-term but there’s something which doesn’t change that is taking us all there together – our community spirit.
‘Maybe because of just that places like Oban will come out of this even stronger than before.’
Go to atlantisleisure.co.uk for more information on pre-booking the tennis courts and the guidance that players need to follow.