Dozens of complaints have been made for months and years about the state of the facilities and provision of the Fusion run leisure centre in Thornton Heath.
Last month this promoted a crisis meeting with Anthony Cawley – Fusion Director of Operation at the High Street leisure centre.
Fusion which is a charity has the contract to run all five of the borough’s leisure centres which finishes in the spring.
There were around 20 people in attendance at the meeting organised by Cllr Jamie Audsley who facilitated the meeting, with Cllr Humayun Kabir.
In August The Chronicle passed this account from a leisure centre user along with pictures to Cllr Audsley: “There are two cubicle showers in the ladies changing which haven’t worked for weeks and are watched over by broken, stained and leaking ceiling tiles. Worse still is the excrement staining on the wall of one of the changing lockers that has also been there for weeks but at least the used nappy left the last time I visited has been removed. There are regularly used tissues and other debris lying around as well as blocked and broken toilets.”
Many similar concerns were raised at the meeting including cleanliness or rather lack of in all areas, lack of accessibility for people with disabilities with the lift being frequently out of use, lack of communication between management-staff-users and the general state of the building and maintenance of equipment particularly in the gym.
Leisure centre user Chetna Kapacee who was at the meeting writes: It was evident that those members of the community who attended felt that this space was “our” space – a community space which is why many of us are reluctant to go elsewhere despite cheaper and better options but also appreciated the excellent instructors who lead the classes.
It was this community voice that escalated the complaints resulting in Cllr Audsley setting up this meeting. Since then there have been some minor improvements including the reinstatement of the paper cups, repairs to lockers, 14 shower head replaced and an improved cleaning regime.
In response to the feedback, Mr Cawley, apologised for the failure in service and has committed to take personal responsibility to ensuring improvements are made and better processes are implemented. This will include staff retraining, better communications from management and regular instructors meetings. He will also look at improvements to the website, the app, improvements to booking and cancellation procedures. There will be regular monthly meetings to update users on the various issues so watch this space and keep raising any concerns and issues.