We hope you’re keeping well at this difficult time.
We’ve been carefully assessing Government’s announcements on how sports and leisure venues can reopen. We want to play our part in helping everyone get back to normal through exercise, staying healthy and having fun – and, while we want to reopen quickly we, of course, need to do this in ways which are both safe and financially viable.
At Lee Valley, we kept our green spaces open throughout the crisis and have restarted some leisure activities, but getting all our activities up and running won’t be speedy or straightforward.
The pandemic has had a huge financial impact on Lee Valley Regional Park Authority which owns and runs Lee Valley Ice Centre. Most of the Authority’s income comes through activities we sell in spring and summer, which have been heavily affected by lockdown. So far we’ve already lost around £3m - a quarter of our expected income this year and, like so many other leisure organisations, we need to reopen carefully, responsibly and safely in a staged way to build back up to providing visitors with their favourite activities and to make sure we’re here for you long term.
Throughout the closure, our team has been working out how we can reopen and sustainably cope with social distancing itself and the lower capacities which social distancing will demand. We’ve been deep cleaning the venue and assessing how each part of the Lee Valley Ice Centre programme functions and how we can continue to keep visitors, coaches and staff safe.
The Government have today announced that ice rinks must remain closed for a further two weeks. So we have put back our reopening plans to fit with their announcement and expect to start pre-booked 1:1 coached sessions from Monday 17 August. We’re contacting coaches to arrange this. Over subsequent weeks we’ll gradually increase hours and start some patch skating. Public skating will follow later. We’ll use these early weeks to assess how the centre works and any changes we need to make to our operations. Future phases will be as set out below. We look forward to welcoming you back soon.
Initially we plan to start with 1:1 coaching at limited times We’ll contact coaches to discuss this and over the following weeks we’ll look to gradually increase hours and start some patch skating. These are NOT public sessions, will be pre-booked and are for experienced skaters who are better able to practice social distancing while on the ice
We’ll be assessing these 1:1 coaching activities and, if this goes well, we’d look to add some public skating sessions for limited numbers of skaters next. These would have to be pre-booked
We’d then hope to expand the programme weekly to include additional sessions for coaching, patch members, general public and club sessions where we’re able to accommodate safely
Finally we’re planning for people to be able to book onto Learn to Skate courses.
When the time comes to visit you’ll see some changes. Our staff may be wearing face masks, we may have changed our entrances and exits, you may have to queue, the café will be closed at first. You’ll have to pre-book everything, we’ll be providing hand cleansing stations and, of course, you must practice social distancing.
We want you back as soon as we can. Visitors are what we’re here for – we can’t wait to see you all again, so please bear with us.
If you’d like to find out the latest about our plans for a new twin pad ice centre to replace the current ageing venue head over to icecentreredevelopment.com
and find out how you can help.