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Chief executive welcomes reopening of indoor facilities

Tim Hollingsworth greets the reopening of indoor leisure facilities such as gyms and leisure centres with positivity.

12th April 2021

Our chief executive Tim Hollingsworth has welcomed the further reopening of the sector as many indoor facilities begin greeting people back to sport and physical activity today.

With 12 April marking the beginning of Step 2 of the government’s roadmap to recovery from the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, today sees indoor facilities such as gyms, leisure centres and indoor swimming pools open for adult individual, or household, activity.


Our research shows 58% of people miss the types of physical activity they were able to do before the outbreak, with 43% agreeing that closures of sports facilities have reduced the amount of physical activity they do.

So, with today’s easing of restrictions, our chief executive is pleased many people will be able to return to their preferred activities.

“Today is another welcome milestone in the government’s roadmap as so many people are ready and eager to get back to some of the activities they love and have missed,” said Tim.

“Leisure facilities are hugely important settings for supporting physical activity levels in our communities and today’s reopening will play a big part in helping us get back to where we were before the pandemic.

“Huge credit is due to all those involved in making sure that indoor facilities, including gyms and pools up and down the country, can reopen today and I know many have worked tirelessly to put measures in place to make this as safe as possible.

“Through administering the National Leisure Recovery Fund we have sought to support many of our partners with the financial challenges they are facing and we’ll continue to keep doing so in the weeks and months ahead.”

As we enter Step 2 of the roadmap, we’ve updated our frequently asked questions about what the restrictions mean for sport and physical activity, and our top tips to help activity providers encourage people back to activity still apply.

I know many have worked tirelessly to put measures in place to make this as safe as possible

Tim Hollingsworth

Chief executive, Sport England

And for Sport England board member Karen Pickering, a four-time Olympian and world champion swimmer, today is of particular importance.

“Being physically active to help look after our health and wellbeing has never been more important and for so many, nothing will beat being in the water to do just that,” she said.

“It's brilliant news that indoor pools are reopening, and I am one of millions of people across England who have been counting down the days!

“Huge credit is due to all the operators who have worked so hard to keep these facilities going and to get ready to reopen their doors and I hope lots of people can take advantage of this moment and get in there and have fun.”

See more of our return to play resources.

Return to play

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