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Council provides update on ongoing disruption to Sport and Leisure services

20 May 2022

Richmond Council has provided an update to residents on some of the current issues being faced by the Council's Sport and Leisure team that has resulted in some facilities being closed.

The Council operates seven centres across the borough serving just under 2,000 members. The Council's Sport and Leisure team has experienced significant difficulty in recruitment to key posts, including those of lifeguards, following the re-opening of facilities post-COVID-19. This unfortunately means that the Council is unable to offer the full range of services it would want to for residents while these staffing difficulties are being resolved.

The safety of pool users is of paramount importance and the Council's Sport and Leisure team is working to deliver a timetable across the pools to ensure minimal disruption to regular users.

We are especially aware that this is impacting upon users of Pools on the Park in Richmond. There are understandably a number of demands for pool time and there is therefore a need to prioritise pools sessions. One such example is junior and school swim lessons to meet curriculum requirements, where these lessons take place in the indoor pool and has resulted in the closure of the outdoor pool at certain times due to unavailability of lifeguards.

Staffing issues of this nature are also being experienced across the wider leisure sector. There is a national shortage of qualified lifeguards as a result of restrictions on new lifeguards being trained during the pandemic, in addition to existing lifeguards leaving the profession. The Council has been working hard to recruit new lifeguards, providing additional training for existing staff as well as offering free National Pool Lifeguard Qualifications (NPLQ) to residents and swim clubs on the condition of future work with the Council.

We very much appreciate the understanding and patience of our residents and pool users while we respond to these particular staffing shortages. We encourage anyone interested in a full or part time role in Sports and Leisure team to check out our current vacancies.

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Up to: May 2022

Updated: 20 May 2022

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