LEISURE centres across Oldham will reopen on Saturday (July 25) following the coronavirus lockdown.

Saddleworth Leisure Centre, Oldham Leisure Centre, Royton Leisure Centre, Chadderton Wellbeing Centre, The Radclyffe Athletics Centre and Failsworth Sports Centre will open their doors for the first time since the government imposed restrictions came into force in March.

OCL’s leisure centres will be open to both members and the wider community for pre-booked activities including the gym, group exercise classes, swimming, courts, bowls, table tennis and learn-to-swim lessons.

Trampolining classes will also restart from August 3. All activities require advanced booking via the OCL website (https://oclactive.co.uk/new-online-booking-system/), the Oldham Active app or by calling 0161 207 7000.

Bosses say that in order for OCL to manage customer numbers and ensure that everyone has the chance to book a session, it is initially restricting customers to one booking per day. OCL says it is confident it will be able to adapt this limit as government restrictions are eased.

OCL says it is working closely with UK’s sports governing bodies to ensure it complies with the government’s current Covid-19 secure guidelines and has introduced a comprehensive cleaning regime and social distancing measures. Customer numbers will be reduced to help give everyone the space they require.

OCL’s chief executive Stuart Lockwood said: “We can’t wait to reopen our doors and welcome our valued customers back to leisure centres and the activities they’ve missed during lockdown. It’s been a long four months!

“Getting ready for reopening has taken a lot of hard work from my team and I’m excited to share the changes to our leisure centres with the local community. To begin with, it might feel or look a bit different, but everything has been done to prioritise the health and wellbeing of both staff and customers.”

OCL has produced a "what to expect" video that can be found on its website along with more details about its reopening: https://oclactive.co.uk/keeping-you-safe/.

Mr Lockwood said: “We ask our customers to take the time to carefully read our guidance and to watch the video, as this will help us to help you. There may be new rules and regulations at our leisure centres but we can still promise you the same friendly welcome and the care and attention of our expert staff. Gym equipment will be spaced out and different areas of the centres will be used for classes and workouts. We are running more of your favourite classes with reduced numbers.”

OCL is providing an enhanced cleaning regime and hand sanitising programme. Its team is asking customers to be respectful of others and to clean equipment after use. There will be markers and arrows to help guide people around the trust’s leisure centres.

Throughout the pandemic, OCL has run live online classes via its social media platforms, which has helped to keep people fit and motivated during lockdown.

OCL has confirmed it will be continuing these online services for the community, to help reach people who are shielding or apprehensive about returning to leisure centres.

It has also promised to continue its REACH exercise referral programme in a virtual capacity.

Lockwood concluded: “We have missed our customers and I’m confident they’ll feel reassured by the changes. We are excited to welcome you back. Stay safe, stay apart, and stay active.”