Pubs reopening before swimming pools ‘defies logic’, Charlton Lido boss says

Charlton Lido
Charlton Lido has been closed since March

Boris Johnson’s decision to allow pubs to reopen before swimming pools “defies logic”, the boss of the company that runs Charlton Lido said last night.

The prime minister told MPs yesterday that many of England’s coronavirus restrictions would be eased from July 4 – effectively ending the Covid-19 lockdown.

Pubs and restaurants will be allowed to open their doors, so long as they keep the details of who visits them. But swimming pools and indoor gyms “need to remain closed for now”, Johnson said, calling them “close-proximity venues”.

Johnson said he agreed with Dartford’s Conservative MP, Gareth Johnson, who said people should “their patriotic best for Britain and go to the pub”.

The news brought an angry reaction from Mark Sesnan, the boss of GLL, which runs facilities for Greenwich and councils across London and beyond. The organisation, which brands itself Better, was founded out of Greenwich Council’s leisure services department in 1993 and now runs 270 centres, but has been hit hard by the enforced closure.

GLL’s other centres in the borough include the Waterfront Leisure Centre in Woolwich and the Greenwich Centre. It took over Charlton Lido in 2012 after previous plans by Greenwich Council to hive it off as a diving centre failed.

In an email to customers, he said: “The government has made a potentially catastrophic mistake by leaving community leisure centres, indoor gyms and swimming pools off the list of businesses that can re-open on 4th July. Nor given any indication when they might re-open. This needs urgent review and we need to open as early as possible.

“This will be bad for business, bad for jobs and bad for the health of the nation.”

He said the decision would put thousands of jobs at risk, lead to leisure facilities closing and “vulnerable businesses, including many not-for-profit organisations, folding”.

Last month, a report to Greenwich Council’s cabinet said the pandemic had resulted in “serious financial implications for GLL due to the loss of revenue at borough leisure centres. This is the subject of pan-London discussions.” Other boroughs where GLL operate include Camden, Croydon, Islington, Hackney, Tower Hamlets and Waltham Forest.

Two weeks ago, Southwark Council paid half a million pounds to bail out its operator, Everyone Active; in Peterborough, the local operator Vivacity has closed altogether.

“It has been proven that conditions such as obesity and diabetes significantly increase the risks associated with Covid-19,” Sesnan added.

“We all enjoy a pint. But if pubs and restaurants can reopen it defies logic that indoor sports and leisure facilities remain closed – particularly public facilities designed to serve local communities. This decision appears misguided and short sighted. We need an opening date for our sector immediately.”

GLL is asking customers to sign a Sport England petition to urge the government to think again.


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Calling makers of Charlton: Get involved with Around The Corner Market

News from The Corner at 96 in Bramshot Avenue about a lockdown plan to bring hand made and hand grown produce to the neighbourhood on July 4th:

The Corner at 96 has opened as a pop-up shop in Charlton on a fairly regular basis for the last two years, selling gifts and homewares, handmade by locals. We’ve regularly featured studio ceramics, hand knits, jewellery, children’s clothes & accessories, paintings and photography as well as soaps and toiletries.

Whilst we’ve been locked down, some of our regular makers have had success with sales from home, combining the highlighting of an online website with a stall set up in the garden. So we thought we’d try and gather all our local makers together on the same day for a trail to highlight our hand makes, whatever it is you do! It will be July 4th and we hope to create a Google Maps route between makers selling in outside spaces, which we’ll then be promoting ourselves and via each maker. We’re looking for hand mades or hand grown.

We’ve put a sheet together to explain, including checks you’ll need to make to stay legal. Drop us a line at thecornerse7 [@] gmail.com and we’ll get you joined up!

Then, spread the word – encourage your friends and family along, let’s hope it’s a lovely day of walking, discovery & great sales. The map link will be posted as widely as we can from this Saturday.

The Corner at 96
Twitter: @Corner_96
Instagram: @the_corner_at_96
Facebook page: The Corner at 96


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– Please tell us about your news and events
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See the Charlton entries in Greenwich & Bexley Hospice’s virtual Open Garden

Painted Lady butterfly
A Painted Lady butterfly in a Charlton garden. Photo: Neil Clasper

Coronavirus restrictions have badly impacted many charities’ fundraising this year, with social distancing rules making many events impossible. Greenwich & Bexley Community Hospice, one of the local causes to be affected, have taken a different approach to their annual Open Gardens and created a virtual version.

Here’s how to support the Hospice and take a peak into some impressive local gardens from the comfort of your own living room:

“Due to Covid-19, we are sadly unable to host our usual Open Gardens Festival. However, we are excited to bring you our first-ever Virtual Open Gardens, so that you can explore a variety of beautiful gardens from the comfort of your home!

Tim Barnes, hospice trustee, who organised the event said: “Our wonderful garden hosts have put together over 40 homemade video tours of their stunning and lovingly tended gardens from around Bexley, Blackheath, Charlton, Eltham and Greenwich. We really hope you enjoy your virtual visit and pick up some gardening ideas and inspiration!”

We would like to say a big thank you to all the wonderful garden owners who have worked so hard to bring their gardens to life and raise money for the Hhspice.

Please consider donating the entrance fee to our emergency appeal so we can continue to provide our specialist end of life care to families in our community.”

See the Charlton garden entries: https://twhitham.wixsite.com/opengardens2020/blackheath
Donate here: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/virtualopengardens


PLEASE SUPPORT THE CHARLTON CHAMPION

We tell the SE7 stories you won’t read elsewhere. We can’t do it without your help.
– Please tell us about your news and events
– Become a monthly supporter at presspatron.com/charltonchampion
– Advertise your business with us from just £9.80/per week
– Celebrate our neighbourhood and order postcards or a print