A community college gym is closing down after staffing issues left it "challenging" to run. Reigate College said its gym, which is used by the public, will permanently shut its doors on Friday, February 10.
The news follows rumours among some of its members that it would be shutting down. A spokesperson for Reigate College said: "Prior to the pandemic, we had sought to recruit an assistant manager to support the operation and to enable continuity of service when the manager is not available.
"For the past year post-pandemic, we have advertised on numerous occasions for this role, including on specialist listings, but have not been able to recruit to this post. This has meant that it has become increasingly challenging to run the gym for external users."
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The college called it a "difficult decision" and added: "We are aware that some members have only recently joined and recognise that there are many members who have been regular users for many years. We know that this news will be particularly disappointing, and that is why we have looked at a variety of ways of resolving the issue before taking the final decision."
The college also said it spent "a significant amount of time looking at alternatives and ways in which we may be able to continue the operation of the gym through a third party via private hire". It noted that members could not be told about any closure until the "process" was completed and the college received confirmation that this was not able to progress further on Wednesday (January 5).
However, the college emphasised it was still keen for the community to use the facilities and is open to discussions with any members or organisations who would like to hire the gym.
Gym user Craig Chalmers responded to the announcement and said: "It's been an underhand approach from gym users' perspective, which one would expect better from a public institution . It is short-sighted and as goodwill is vital in any community that struggles with 2,500 in a setting never envisaged for this number.
"Clearly they have no wish to discuss and have engagement with 60 members of the needs of this group. I am afraid it reflects poorly on the college and the reasoning does not currently, on the information provided, add up. I have hope our local MP, councillors and the governors take an interest in the closure."
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