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Cindi Webb has been keeping fit at Newquay’s Waterworld leisure centre since it first opened in 1975 and she’s delighted to be back.

As someone who swims in the 25m pool and uses the gym several times a week, Cindi admits to being initially apprehensive about returning. 

“I was worried because I wasn’t sure what to expect,” she said. “It was simple though. I booked via the Better app and was greeted at the front door by a member of staff who couldn’t do enough to help.

“There’s a one-way system and everything is clearly marked and easy to follow. The gym was very clean, the equipment was very well spaced out with plenty of room for social distancing and each customer has their own training zone in the weights area. It really was impressive.

“My next visit was a one-hour fitness swim. As advised, I arrived with my swimsuit on so I could get in quickly. The pool was divided into three large slow, medium and fast double lanes. There was lots of space and I felt very safe.

“Waterworld has been part of my life for nearly five decades and it was wonderful to be back.”

Run by social enterprise provider GLL on behalf of the council, Newquay Waterworld and the adjacent Newquay Trampoline and Play Park are two of the eight centres that the not-for-profit organisation opened on 25 July. Another six currently remain closed.

“It was lovely to welcome Cindi and other members back after four months of closure,” said GLL general manager Nick Trevenna. “Like most of my colleagues, I’ve been on furlough so there was a whirlwind of activity getting everything ready in time. Safety is our absolute priority and we’re really pleased that our new processes seem to be working well.”

Following an estimated £5m loss in revenue as a result of COVID 19 and new health and safety requirements introduced for leisure centres to help control the pandemic, GLL and Cornwall Council are jointly lobbying the Government to provide urgent funding to help centres survive the current, unprecedented crisis and give people access to facilities that improve health and fitness.

“We know how important our leisure centres are – not just in terms of physical fitness but for mental health too,” said GLL’s Head of Service James Curry. “We are a not-for-profit organisation, however, and the truth is we are facing a huge financial challenge in Cornwall. Government assistance is desperately needed to go on providing the service that customers like Cindi appreciate so much.”

Prior booking is required for all Better leisure centres. For more information, visit the website.