'A long time coming' - gyms welcome people back for April 12 reopening

waveney gymnastics club

Staff jump for joy as Waveney Gymnastics Club in Kirkley reopens. - Credit: Alex Row

It is the day fitness fans and even those new to the gym have been waiting for over the last few months.

Gyms and fitness centres can once again reopen their doors, alongside pubs and shops, where there have been queues since 3am this morning in Norwich.

Swiftfitness co-director Derek Swift, who runs the with his brother Ian in Bungay welcomed the news of his gym opening again.

He said the closure of the gym, which only opened up two days before the first lockdown in March had an impact on the physical and mental health of his clients.

derek and ian swift

Co-owners of Swiftfitness in Bungay Derek Swift (left) and Ian Swift (right) are welcoming gym goers back today. - Credit: Ella Wilkinson

Mr Swift said: "It has been a long time coming. The closure of the gym has affected people in so many ways, particularly their physical and mental health.  

"People were just deflated when it was announced we were going back into lockdown again, the gym was a lifeline for them.

"They were all hitting their fitness levels and to then just stop was so demoralising for them."

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Fitness fans and newcomers at Swiftfitness gym in Bungay on the reopening day. - Credit: Derek Swift


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The brother duo run the gym themselves and have no staff members so the economic effects of Covid have not been felt as badly by them.

Mr Swift continued: "Financially, we have been okay. We are a family run business so have no staff costs and the government grants have definitely helped.

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"You can't really argue with the lockdown easing this time round, I feel like it is being done at the right rate.

"I feel like people are more confident coming out this time around and the vaccine rollout is proving to be a big success.

"The main thing is we are still up running and surviving, so onwards and upwards."

derek swift ian swift

Derek Swift (right) said gyms are a focal point for improving people's mental health and wellbeing. - Credit: Ella Wilkinson

Ashleigh Moore, 27, the co-director of East Anglia Gymnastics is today opening a new gymnastics club just behind North Quay retail park at 2 Leyland Court.

Mr Moore is looking forward to welcoming over 400 children to the gymnastics club this week for a free month free trial.

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East Anglia Gymnastics has a new branch open just behind the North Quay Retail Park in Lowestoft. - Credit: Ashleigh Moore

He said: "Our aim opening this new club in Lowestoft is to get children doing gymnastics again after this very long lockdown.

"It has been such a hard time for children and families across Lowestoft because of Covid and this inspired us to offer these free sessions which we advertised back in January.

"Ideally it would be lovely to go back to no restrictions but we have fairly strict procedures in place including temperature checks, disinfectants and children go off into small bubbles of eight.

"It is great to finally be able to open and luckily Covid has not delayed our reopening."

Waterlane Leisure Centre in Lowestoft is also back up and running today after being closed for several months and reopening with £1m refurbishment.

waterlane leisure centre

Waterlane Leisure Centre has reopened with a £1million refurbishment. - Credit: Nick Butcher

Across to the south of the town in Kirkley, Waveney Gymnastics Club is also excited to welcome gymnasts and clubs back after a long few months off.

Centre director for the club Alex Row, has worked at the club for the past 10 years.

waveney gymnastics club

Staff at Waveney Gymnastics Club in Kirkley have been operating online over the lockdown but finally open their doors today. - Credit: Alex Row

Mr Row said: "It is really good to open our doors back up to the general public.

"We have been doing online classes during lockdown but it is not the same and today marks the first step in the right direction.

"We've had so many parents get in contact asking if their children can get involved and join which is such a positive sign."

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The return of contact coaching is on the cards for two weeks time. - Credit: Alex Row

Mr Row highlighted how a gradual return to contact coaching is also on the cards two weeks from now.

He said: "We are slowly building back into normality now with a range of events coming up and the return to some form of contact coaching in the next two weeks.

"Gymnast groups will have access to a coach for a 15min session and then that coach will not be able to support any other group for another week.

"It is about building a process of normality again for everyone and for the gymnasts.

"Our doors are open here at Waveney Gymnastics Club and any member of the community is welcome to join us as we come out of lockdown."

waveney gymnastics club

Waveney Gymnastics Club ready for people again after being shut for months on end. - Credit: Alex Row


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