Barking and Dagenham leisure centres set to reopen this week

Abbey Leisure Centre in Barking, Becontree Heath Leisure Centre in Dagenham and Jim Peters Athletics

Abbey Leisure Centre in Barking, Becontree Heath Leisure Centre in Dagenham and Jim Peters Athletics Stadium will reopen on Friday, July 31. Picture: Everyone Active - Credit: Archant

Leisure centres in Barking and Dagenham will reopen on Friday.

Abbey Leisure Centre, Becontree Heath Leisure Centre and Jim Peters Athletics Stadium, which are managed by Everyone Active in partnership with the council, will open on July 31 - four months after being closing because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Pools at the leisure centres will reopen from Monday, August 3, with a lane booking system in place, while swimming lessons will start again from Saturday, August 22.

The government confirmed earlier this month that leisure centres could reopen from July 25, with strict measures in place.

Everyone Active says social distancing will be managed throughout its centres and regular cleaning maintained.

During lockdown, the sports and leisure centre operator raised more than £400,000 for The National Emergencies Trust after pledging to donate half the cost of a memberships to the charity if customers continued to pay them.

It also released a package of online workouts for people to do at home and livestreamed classes on its social media pages.

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Everyone Active contract manager Hasan Romel said: “Giving people the opportunity to resume activity and exercise in their leisure centre will go a long way to maintaining the good health of the community.

“We’ve been overwhelmed with the support we have received from customers during these unprecedented times, and we’re so grateful.

“Ensuring our colleagues and customers remain safe is our number one priority and we have carefully considered the strict measurements to ensure we adhere to the guidance.”

He added all customers will be contacted directly regarding the centres reopening.

Deputy leader of the council and cabinet member for community leadership and engagement, Councillor Saima Ashraf said: “We know how important it is for people to stay fit and healthy, and our leisure centres are a part of some of our residents’ exercise regimes, whether that be using the gym, going swimming or taking part in classes.

“Government gave guidance that leisure facilities could reopen on July 25, but we wanted to make sure that our facilities, in partnership with Everyone Active, would be safe for everyone to use.”