I am very pleased that Ipswich Borough Council has been able to announce the re-opening of a new range of services from this week, starting with sport and leisure facilities.
Whitton Sports Centre will be open weekday evenings from 4pm with a fitness class programme, gym slots, badminton court bookings and 3G pitch hire.
Fore Street Pool will be open for public lane swimming and private hire.
Crown Pools will open this week for club hire and from next week swimming lessons will be added and the gym re-opened.
All activities will need to be pre-booked and pre-paid before you visit. Full details are available online at: www.ipswichfit.co.uk
It has been a major logistical exercise to get our sports centres and swimming pools ready for safe re-opening. The Government has issued over a dozen sets of sometimes conflicting guidance which we must follow. Some of this guidance was only issued after the Government said leisure centres could re-open.
As an example of the extra work required, all our re-opened facilities have had to have a new ventilation system fitted to make them compliant and safe for staff and customers.
We will be looking at how these facilities operate, and the level of demand, before we make a decision about re-opening other sports centres.
This week will also see the re-opening of the new play area in Christchurch Park following complete revamp. During lockdown it been possible to see this develop, starting with the removal of the old equipment and then the installation of the new. I know many families will be looking forward to getting in there and giving it a go!
Also in Christchurch Park, the Reg Driver Centre will re-open enabling park visitors to use the public toilets, buy duck food, and seek information about the park.
In the town centre, the Town Hall Café operated by Coffee Cat will re-open to customers next week and the Ipswich Farmers Market will return to the Cornhill on Sunday 6th September.
We’re still a long way off “normal” yet but, as long as we all continue to follow the rules, we should be able to continue the steady progress of re-opening council facilities safely.