CIMSPA and CLUK respond to the First Minister’s announcement on the fitness and leisure sector in Scotland

Published on: July 31st 2020

On 30 July First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, indicated that gyms and leisure centres in
Scotland would not reopen until 14 September 2020, as the Scottish Government develops
their route map through and out of the crisis.

Whilst we are encouraged by the Scottish Government’s work towards a route map and
official opening date to facilitate the safe reopening of the sector in Scotland, CIMSPA and
Community Leisure UK (CLUK) are hugely disappointed with the delayed opening date of
gyms, leisure and sports facilities. This continued delay creates further financial challenges
for the Scottish sport and physical activity sector and puts its workforce in an increasingly
difficult position, with facilities due to be closed for a further six weeks.

CIMSPA will continue to work closely with CLUK in partnership to engage and encourage
the First Minister and Scottish Government to review this date at the earliest opportunity.
The announcement yesterday, whilst disappointing, provided some good news for sport and
physical activity professionals in Scotland, with additional guidance added to the current
working programmes for outdoor activity. These new guidelines should allow Scottish fitness
and exercise professionals more flexibility in their working practices moving forwards.

Mark Tweedie, Chief Executive of CLUK, said:

With England’s leisure facilities successfully reopened and a date announcement for Wales, our members want to expedite the re-opening date in Scotland so people can re-engage with physical activity in their community leisure facilities; with 50% of the population choosing to exercise in leisure and sports facilities this is so important for the health and wellbeing of the nation. Further delays to reopening also adds to the prevailing financial crisis faced by public leisure services, jeopardising hundreds of community leisure centres and thousands of jobs. We will continue to work with the Scottish Government and our partners to achieve a re-opening date, and also the UK Government to provide emergency relief funding to secure the viability of public leisure services.

Tara Dillon, CIMSPA CEO, said:

“With facilities across England and Northern Ireland now open, it is frustrating that the date for reopening in Scotland has been further delayed. We will continue to work closely and tirelessly with our partners CLUK and ukactive to encourage the Scottish government to review the proposed date of opening. We understand that this continues to create huge financial challenges and we will continue to urge the HM Treasury to consider a further financial support package for Scottish leisure and fitness services, to provide protection for businesses and the workforce, enabling businesses to reopen.”