November 30, 2020

Hello

As we approach the end of what has been a year the likes of which few of us have experienced, I hope that – above all else – this finds you and yours safe and healthy.

Like everyone, we’ve had numerous challenges to negotiate these past months and I’m afraid I have yet another to address. And I have agonised long and hard before writing to you.

With Kent being placed in Tier 3 from this Wednesday, there is a significant impact on what we can, as leisure providers, offer to members and customers. Crucially, the restrictions mean we cannot run any group exercise classes or organised adult sport unless it is from a single household or bubble.

The government has pledged to review this on December 16 but, for the time being, this has presented us with an incredibly difficult dilemma.

The current situation is further complicated by the fact many of our customers have all-inclusive memberships across classes, the gym, swimming and dry sports such as badminton. This makes dividing up those activities permitted within the guidelines to deliver a situation fair to everyone a logistical challenge we’ve found hard to reconcile.

We have been operating – when permitted to do so – at just 30% of our usual turnover – while during periods of “lockdown” it costs around £50,000 a month to keep one dormant centre running behind-the-scenes.

Regrettably, we have therefore decided not to reopen our leisure centres on Wednesday. We will, however, be monitoring the situation on a regular basis and in line with the latest government guidelines as and when they’re adapted.

This decision has been reached only after very extreme consideration as to the service we’d be able to offer you in this short term – and the costs of keeping buildings open at a time when usage is restricted by the law and impacted (as it always is anyway) by the festive season.

I fully appreciate this will be disappointing but, rest assured, it’s not a course of action we’ve taken lightly and that we will be doing everything possible to reopen our centres at the first opportunity. Assuming it happens, I will write to you again following any new government guidance issued on December 16.

With regards to your membership fees, I can advise you as follows:

As advised previously we will credit the November monthly direct debit payments taken. These will now be credited in January.

Annual memberships will be extended in line with the total closure period for November and December.

Everyone at Sencio Community Leisure is all-too-aware that exercise and fitness is, for so many people, an essential element of their physical as well as their mental wellbeing – and I am sorry to have had to write this letter.

Best wishes

Jane Parish
Chief Executive

P.S. For any golfers, Lullingstone Park Golf Centre will reopen on Wednesday (December 2). Some tee-times are already full, however, so do get yours booked in early