Portrait photograph of profile subject standing with hand on hips and looking into the camera in a gym suite

Returning to our Leisure Centres: Laura Taurasi

This customer profile is the first in a series following the experience of local people returning to leisure centres across Westminster in order to get or stay active after the nationwide closure of leisure facilities due to COVID-19.

Laura Taurasi believes that no matter where it’s done, physical activity is the key driver of her physical and mental wellbeing.

The 31-year-old physiotherapist lives in Westminster’s neighbouring borough, RBKC, but used to travel across the border to the Porchester Centre up to four times a week before lockdown. Once ActiveWestminster and Everyone Active announced that they would be reopening leisure centres again, Laura couldn’t wait to return. “I attended from the first day they re-opened. During lockdown I mainly trained indoors at home but I missed using the weights and machines that they have at the gyms. At home I was mostly doing HIIT”.

When asked about her experience back since the reopening Laura seems resolved, “at first I was concerned about how safe it would be at the centre. I wasn’t sure if it would be safe enough for me to attend. But then I saw that the staff are actually taking all the right measures to ensure the safety of all of us.”

Hand sanitation station placed at the fromt end of the gym studio at Porchetser Leisure Centre

Before reopening, Everyone Active published an update regarding the procedures they had put in place for reopening sites. As well as asking customers to consider how they travelled to leisure centres, they set up a digital booking system and implemented strict ways of working. This included one-way systems in and out of sites, ensuring that sanitation stations where placed throughout the venue and ensuring gyms were shut off for deep cleaning after 50-minute intervals. “The booking process is very simple and straight-forward to use. I have been attending the gym around 3-4 times a week since it’s been open and I’ve never found it to be crowded”.

So, what about the perceived risks? “As long as we are respecting the safety measures, making sure we are all cleaning the machines after use, keeping distance, washing our hands and avoid attending if we have any symptoms, there are no concerns for me! Training in the gym has improved my overall wellbeing – I’m managing stress a lot better now and it’s improved my self-image”.

Westminster Residents are able to secure 30% off leisure centre activities across Westminster including the gym with the ActiveWestminster Card.

*The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the interviewee. 

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