MSP visits Lochaber Leisure Centre as staff get ready for reopening

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MSP Kate Forbes recently dropped into Lochaber Leisure Centre in Fort William to meet with High Life Highland staff and hear about their plans to reopen safely.

From Monday, gyms and swimming pools can reopen – and the Belford Road facility will welcome back users that day.

The Lochaber MSP heard from High Life Highland staff, including chief executive Steve Walsh, about some of the changes in how the centre will operate. These include enhanced cleaning procedures, one-way systems, social distancing measures and booking systems.

Local MSP Kate Forbes has welcomed the news of the leisure centre in Fort William getting ready to reopen after the coronavirus lockdown restrictions were eased. NO F35 KATE FORBES 02
Local MSP Kate Forbes visited the leisure centre in Fort William ahead of its reopening.

She said: ‘I know many people rely on the gym for their physical and mental health. As such, it has been very difficult to see gyms still closed, as part of lockdown.

‘I spoke to High Life Highland about the steps they are taking to embed guidance in the Lochaber Leisure Centre, so that people can have confidence that they will be safe when the gym reopens on Monday.

‘Staff are doing more cleaning and there is a one-way system round the centre to ensure social distancing.

‘I spoke to some of the staff who had been furloughed about their experience and desire to see the gym reopen. We all want to move into the next phase of the route map to ease out of lockdown, but it is important to do so when it is safe.’

Mr Walsh added: ‘The announcement from the first minister last week was what we had all been waiting for and is the most significant step in HLH’s bounceback campaign so far.

‘We have had to make changes to the way we operate at all our locations, including Lochaber Leisure Centre, to accommodate enhanced cleaning, one-way systems, social distancing measures and booking systems to ensure our members and customers can return to our locations safely and in line with the Scottish Government’s guidelines. But I can assure everyone that local teams are most certainly ready-to-go.

‘The feedback about our reopening received from members and customers has been extremely positive and it is clear many people are looking forward to getting back to their local facilities.

‘We will be communicating directly with our customers throughout the course of this week, offering advice on how to access services and what they can expect when they arrive back at the local leisure centres from next Monday.’