GL1 & Oxstalls receive first visitors on reopening weekend 

Published on: November 16th 2023

Freedom Leisure, one of the UK’s leading charitable and not-for-profit leisure trusts that has been chosen as the new provider of leisure facilities in Gloucester, welcomed its first visitors as the centres reopened at the weekend. 

The leisure trust pulled out all the stops to recruit and retrain over 80 ex-employees within a matter of days, to continue the process of reopening the leisure centres begun by the city council and its partners. 

The centres threw open their doors on Saturday 11 November and the people of Gloucester responded by taking part in their favourite exercise classes, swimming in GL1’s Barton Pool and playing badminton. 

Oxstalls Indoor Tennis Centre, located at Oxtsalls Sports Park, was also a hive of activity with lots of tennis players returning as well as those looking to hire the outdoor pitches for hockey and football. 

Karl Allen, Freedom Leisure’s Area Manager in Gloucester was delighted to reopen the centres and welcome visitors once again. He said; “It was amazing to see so many people returning to GL1 and Oxstalls this weekend. I’d like to praise every single member of the team that have worked tirelessly over the last week to get the centres ready. A magnificent team effort that judging by the number of people returning has been gratefully received by the people of Gloucester.” 

He continued; “We had swimmers in the pool from 8am and customers in our first Bootcamp class at 9am. We also had a customer return later in the morning to present our colleagues with a bunch of flowers to thank them. I think this demonstrates the strength of feeling and that people are genuinely very grateful that, thanks to Gloucester City Council and Freedom Leisure, we are back open again, providing vitally important local community leisure facilities once again in Gloucester.” 

While opening hours and the activity timetables are evolving, one change that customers will see straight away is that lane swimming will commence on weekdays from 6am rather than 6.30am so people can access the swimming pool for a fitness boost before starting work.  

Councillor Andy Lewis, cabinet member for Culture and Leisure at Gloucester City Council, said: “We’ve had some fantastic feedback and it’s clear that people are delighted to be back in and using the facilities. I can’t thank the leisure facilities staff and Freedom Leisure enough, for getting everything up and running so quickly and making sure everything ran smoothly.”  

There is more good news for two of the clubs that regularly use the facilities at GL1 with confirmation that the Indoor Bowls Club will be able to return later this week from Thursday and that Gloucester City Swimming Club, who have been training at GL1 since the closure thanks to Gloucester City Council, returned to their full training schedule.  

For more information and to view the specific opening hours and initial timetables for the next few days, please visit GL1’s website at and Oxstalls’ website at  

Freedom Leisure is urging any clubs or societies who previously hired the facilities to get in touch to register their interest by visiting  

 In the meantime, anyone wishing to contact the centres, should email [email protected] or [email protected]