Penarth Leisure Centre user accuses Parkwood of ageism

First published in News by

A MEMBER of Penarth Leisure Centre has written a scathing letter to head of Parkwood accusing the company of "ageist and discriminatory" behaviour.
Sully resident Aled Rhys-John has told Parkwood chief executive Andrew Holt that since the Vale of Glamorgan Council entered into partnership with them there has been "a complete change of policy and attitude within Penarth Leisure Centre".
A regular user of the Cardiac Rehabilitation Class, held at the leisure centre for the past five years, Mr Rhys-John said the problem was the treatment members had endured from staff and management over a scheduling conflict with a new spin class in the main hall, running the same time as the rehabilitation class.
In his letter Mr Rhys-John called the noise of the spin class "incredible".
"It is disruptive and dangerous with the facilitator shouting in to a microphone in order to be heard above the loud music," he said.
"One one occasion the noice could be heard in Dock Street over 300 metres away.
"The introduction of new trendy hip fad young leisure classes to encourage the healthy young is all very well and good and changes associated with a new broom were, in all honesty, expected. However, that the policy of the centre become agesit and discriminatory was not expected and this in my opinion and that of my fellow classmates is both unacceptable and intolerable.
"It is sad to reflect that the building that was built with the rates and local taxes deducted from our wages is no longer accessible or welcoming to us now that many of the class are no longer working."
"I note from the Parkwood Community Leisure website that there is a section called 'Love Your Heart'," he added.
"I would like to ask how Parkwood Leisure intends to live up to that claim as it has clearly failed to recognise or value over four years hard work that has gone in to creating and establishing the Heart Racers class and had further ignored the success of our model by attempting to marginalise us into an obscure corner at an inaccessible time."
Penarth Lesure Centre manager Jo Smith said she hoped the situation could be resolved once new studio space was created as part of improvements at the centre.
She said: "Following a new timetable launch it was brought to the attention of the duty manager that the music from the new spin class was able to be heard in the dance studio where the cardiac rehab class was taking place. The duty manager spoke to the coach of the spin class and the music was turned down.
"I was contacted by Ceinwen Sawyer, Penarth Leisure Centre's teacher of the class, with regard to the music of the spin class and I offered to move the cardiac rehab class to a different time, not specified. Ceinwen said that two of the 20 class members would be unable to make an earlier time and the offer to move the class was not taken forward. Penarth Leisure centre is undergoing a major development and investment in the facilities, which will be completed at the end of December. I discussed this with Ceinwen, highlighting that new space and studios will be allocated to many of the activities creating an improved environment for everyone.  Ceinwen has since resigned from her position stating ill health; we wish her well and a successful recovery.
"The cardiac rehab class is temporarily postponed until the facility improvements are completed, early January.  We apologies for the disruption to the class, but look forward to welcoming all members back in the New Year to our new facilities."
The Cardiac Rehabilitation Class, operating on a GP referral scheme, is now based at Albert Road Methodist Church and Community Centre.
To get in touch about the class email info@ceinwensawyer.co.uk

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