Derry City and Strabane District Council’s Leisure staff are busy working behind the scenes adhering to Government guidelines to facilitate the reopening of its leisure centres.While all Council owned leisure centres currently remain closed to the public, preparations and arrangements are at an advanced stage to make the facilities safe for a phased and planned reopening. Members of Derry City and Strabane District Council’s Health and Communities Committee this week approved a reopening plan and subject to Full Council later this month, details of our reopening dates will be confirmed.In the interim, the Council is seeking the views of the public and user groups to help it plan and understand the public’s requirements when they reopen. The survey has been developed to assist Council in working towards improving and increasing its service offering. By participating in the survey the public will help Council identify the issues that matter to users of its leisure centre and sports facilities.Completed surveys will be entered into a draw with a chance of winning a 1mth All Inclusive package once our facilities are up and running again.To participate in the survey click on the following link – https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/DCSDCLeisureReopening The survey will be available for one week from today, Friday 10 July until Friday, 17 July.A spokesperson for Derry City and Strabane District Council reassured the public that extensive work is taking place at leisure facilities across the Council to welcome the public back to the leisure centres and sports facilities later this summer.“It is important to note that Council has to work within the NI Executive’s COVID-19 guidelines and our staff are working behind the scenes to ensure everything is in place to ensure safe workout areas, hygiene and booking facilities whilst maintaining our high standards of service.“Our priority will be to reopen our tier one centres at Foyle Arena and Templemore Sports Complex in Derry, the Riversdale Leisure Centre in Strabane and the Derg Valley Leisure Centre in Castlederg in the first instance. We are currently looking at options and safe working practices to facilitate this over the coming weeks.“We anticipate that when we do reopen, it will be with limited capacity, primarily for gym and fitness classes only and with reduced numbers of people and that bookings will need to be made in advance. Some outdoor pitches and courts are currently available for club hire only at this stage and we anticipate that it will be some time yet before we can expand our services to offer swimming and other activities.”The Council spokesperson said that as part of its planning for its phased reopening it will be embarking on a marketing campaign to provide advice, information and reassurance to the public.The spokesperson explained: “To make things things simple & easy we have put together a five step approach to reopening that outlines our key messages to our users when they return to sports and leisure activities. We want them to think about them as follows –
- RE-ENERGISE: From Isolation to Rejuvenation.
- RESPECT: Please respect our staff and your fellow members space by observing social distancing.
- REMEMBER: Remember to practice good hygiene, wash your hands and clean your kit
- RESERVE: Please pre-book all activities
- The REST: Please bear with us, we will provide updates soon on the rest of our key services.
The public have also been advised that while sports pavilions and pitches remain closed to the public, a booking system is in place to facilitate some outdoor recreation facilities for sports clubs and sporting organisations for training purposes only. The Council has been working proactively with clubs and user groups on this over the past number of weeks and bookings are now being taken.Clubs looking for more information and keen to book the outdoor pitches are urged to fill out the online form at the link below. Full information and the booking form can be accessed at http://derrystrabaneleisure.com/bookings/ and sports clubs can request a booking by sending a booking application form and all required supporting documentation to firstname.lastname@example.org.“This has been a very challenging time for our leisure centre users and members and we appreciate their patience and understanding at this time. We want to reassure you that the health and safety of the public and our staff are our main prime concern and as we plan our phased reopening, it will require their continued patience and co-operation.Anyone who has any queries regarding their leisure membership are urged to email email@example.com. All updates relating to services and reopening will be communicated to members and on the various social media platforms over the summer and on the website at www.derrystrabane.com/leisure.