Six Edinburgh Leisure venues reopened today:  Ainslie Park Leisure Centre; Craiglockhart Leisure and Tennis Centre, Drumbrae Leisure Centre, The Royal Commonwealth Pool, Leith Victoria, and Gracemount Leisure Centre.  

We visited Leith Victoria to see for ourselves some of the measures which have been put in place. This morning the gym, pool and studio were all running sessions but there was no feeling of crowding anywhere. Everyone has to book in for a certain start time, allowing staff time to clean in between, and other customers to change and leave the building. Leith Victoria was shut for a major refurbishment from August 2019 and only reopened at the beginning of March 2020, before having to close its doors again as a result of Covid-19.

Edinburgh Leisure, as caretakers of facilities like Leith Victoria is constantly investing and future proofing the buildings, so that customers can continue to enjoy the facilities for many years to come, as they have done for previous generations, and Leith Victoria is really clean and welcoming. The only downside for anyone with long hair is that hairdryers are not in use for now, so as the colder weather approaches you might need a hat to wear after your dip in the Victorian pool.

June Peebles CEO of Edinburgh Leisure PHOTO ©2020 The Edinburgh Reporter
  • The charity’s CEO, June Peebles told us this morning that her board estimates that Edinburgh Leisure has a shortfall of £6 million in this year’s finances, and although she is grateful for furlough support and support from the council, the company is appealing to The Scottish Government for help.
  • But the company believes it has a vital role to play in the city’s recovery and its resilience. A spokesperson said: “Never before, has health and wellbeing been so important.  We’re committed to supporting and enabling the people of Edinburgh to be active and enjoy good health. We continue to invest in the buildings that we manage.”
  • There are of course a number of changes – all are being put in place to ensure the safety of customers and staff.  As well as increased cleaning and safety guidance, Edinburgh Leisure is scheduling activities carefully to manage the numbers of people in the venues at any one time. Edinburgh Leisure is operating as a cashless business meaning that you pay online, and all activities will need to be booked in advance.
  • The Royal Commonwealth Pool also underwent some improvements during lockdown, which include retiling of the diving pool, interior repainting, installation of easy access for the venue, and the installation of a new car park system, which will improve the experience for customers and deter casual parkers.
The plaque at Leith Victoria casting an eye over its shoulder to when the baths first opened in 1899 PhOTO ©2020 The Edinburgh Reporter