Date: January 2021
Sending out a welcome letter in August to all the members inviting them excitedly to join them on the next chapter of the journey only to follow that in November with an announcement that they sadly would not be reopening after the autumn lockdown as they had been unsuccessful in their attempts to renegotiate rent with the landlords leaving them in a position whereby the business was no longer viable.
This really does beg the question ‘What will happen next”? If these big organisations can’t make it work, who can?
This year has been fraught with setbacks like no other, affecting the leisure industry dramatically due to COVID-19, forcing people to look elsewhere for their fitness and entertainment. Much of this has happened outdoors and we are especially fortunate in the Southend area in this regard with our wonderful expanse of seafront and many parks. People have taken to running, walking, cycling, outdoor exercise classes of yoga and Boot Camp style fitness to name but a few and some that I have spoken to recently have said that they have enjoyed these activities so much that they plan to continue even when everything is open normally again.
Southend has many options if it’s purely gym equipment you require. For more extensive facilities including swimming pool, squash and tennis courts we have Garons or a little further afield David Lloyd or for a more personal environment we have Tennis Clubs and Yoga Studios.
COVID-19 has brought about a wave of change in online awareness, with all ages taking up yoga and fitness classes from home. The convenience of this is something that people have got used to and I believe there will continue to be an ongoing market for. We only have to look at the Joe Wicks phenomenon with his Podcasts!
Just a final observation, having discussed the future of this venue with locals, there is a real nostalgia for Courtlands, the original owners. People loved the more ‘Country club’ vibe, where families could all feel comfortable. Where there were social activities for all and a real sense of community and belonging.
Let’s watch this space!