Dance and trampolining groups given lifeline as Peterborough school steps in to provide staff to closed leisure centre

Two Peterborough sports groups have been given a lifeline after Ken Stimpson Community School stepped in to provide staff to allow them to use the Werrington Leisure Centre.
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Both Encore Dance Academy and Aero Kinetics Trampoline Club have been allowed to return to their usual base at Werrington Leisure Centre on a limited basis after discussions with Peterborough Limited and Ken Stimpson school.

The announcement that the centre was to close to the public from January 1 until the start of the new school year in September was made alongside the closure of the Key Theatre last month.

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This left a number of groups left without a home. The council has worked to find or recommend alternative locations for many of these groups but after recent discussions, have reached a deal for the two clobs, who could not be relocated, to retain some use of the centre.

Members of Encore Dance Academy during ther 20th anniversary show dress rehearsal at the Cresset in 2020.Members of Encore Dance Academy during ther 20th anniversary show dress rehearsal at the Cresset in 2020.
Members of Encore Dance Academy during ther 20th anniversary show dress rehearsal at the Cresset in 2020.

Both groups returned to the centre on Monday (January 17), with Aero Kinetics scheduled to hold a further session on Friday (January 21).

It is currently not possible for the centre to be used on weekend’s but the council has described the involvement of the school as “instrumental” in providing the staff to support the current arrangement.

In December, the council forecasted that the leisure facilities were to make a loss of £190,000 for 2021/22, with that rising to £205,000 for 2022/23.

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In explaining the current situation with the centre, however, the council has cited staff shortages for the reason of the closure.

A Peterborough City Council spokesperson said: “Peterborough City Council is working with key stakeholders to find solutions to keep the leisure centre open. Current closures on the centre timetable at this stage are temporary and are due to staff shortages.

“Working with Vivacity, Ken Stimpson school and the local ward councillors, the council are optimistic of achieving an arrangements whereby some of the groups who could not be relocated to other venues due to the times/days they required may still be able to access the Werrington facilities.

“The school have been instrumental in this and are providing staffing to support this arrangement. This option can only apply to groups who were already operational in the centre with their own insurance, and it does require a small price increase to enable the arrangement to be achieved. “Encore Dance and AeroKinetics trampolining have confirmed this arrangement for the weekdays only as weekends were not an option.

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“No other areas of the leisure centre will be available as they are unable to be staffed or insured. Alternative sites have been recommended for public activities and gym use.”

Both groups have expressed their delight at the current arrangement.

A Facebook post from Encore Dance Academy said: “THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU!

“We are beyond excited to announce that we will be returning to Werrington Leisure Centre!

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“We do still have some restrictions in place and cannot return on a Wednesday or Saturday but we are overall, pleased with this compromise.

“Thank you to you all for everything you have helped with over the last month. Thank you to anyone who talked about us and the other clubs who use the centre, signed and shared a petition or just sent us a message of support. It really did mean so much and made us even more determined for fight for our home.”

Aero Kinetics also shared their joy in a statement. It said: “TRAMPOLINING AT WERRINGTON IS BACK!

“The Leisure Centre will remain closed to the public, but after lots of discussions, meetings and hard work behind the scenes by staff at Peterborough Limited and Ken Stimpson School we have come up with a working solution for some clubs to continue running at Werrington.

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“Unfortunately it is not possible for any clubs to use the facilities on a Saturday so we cannot continue with Saturday sessions. We are, however, able to offer the following sessions:

“Monday: 6-7pm & 7-8pm STARTING DATE MONDAY 17th JANUARY

“Friday: 5.30 - 6.30pm, 6.30 - 7.30pm and 7.30 - 8.30pm STARTING DATE FRIDAY 21st JANUARY

“We have spaces available for new or existing members on both Mondays & Fridays.”