Leisure Centre creche facing closure

Penarth Times: THREAT: The creche at Penarth Leisure Centre is facing closure (2845539) THREAT: The creche at Penarth Leisure Centre is facing closure (2845539)

THE future of Penarth Leisure Centre's creche appears bleak, as dwindling usage looks set to close the facility.

Parkwood Community Leisure, who run the service on behalf of the Vale council, confirmed that the provision of the creche was being considered for closure as a cost saving measure, owing to lack of use.

Gym user and mum-of-two Claire Brungert said that a closure would be a devastating blow to parents who want to use the leisure centre.

She said: "If the creche closes then I will have to cancel my membership and I know that there are many more in my situation. It will have a detrimental effect on class numbers too.

"For example, half of the Tuesday morning bootcamp class is made up of mothers like myself who use the creche."

Claire, 36, said that she has seen a steady decline in the opening hours of the creche, citing an example recently that saw a week long closure due to a shortage of staff.

"The people who work in the creche are very dedicated staff. Nobody, including the staff, wants the creche to close, " she said.

"It frustrates me that a huge company like Parkwood Leisure seem unable to manage a service that only runs for three hours, five mornings a week.

"I would imagine that Parkwood will state that the creche is not financially viable as it does not make a profit but I would argue that indirectly it does.

"As a nation, we are constantly told how important diet and exercise is to our physical and mental well being. The Welsh Government spends a phenomenal amount of money each year, trying to reduce obesity rates and encourage people to exercise more. However, Parkwood Leisure seem to be doing quite the opposite in the management of the creche facility in Penarth."

Area Manager for Parkwood Leisure Centre, John de Maid said: "Since taking over the operation of the leisure centre in August 2012, we have actively promoted the creche services to customers and the surrounding community, in addition to our members.

"Sadly, despite our best efforts, we have not seen any increased usage of the creche facility and for this reason we are obliged to consider cost saving measures to minimise the impact of this service on the centre operation, which is currently run under subsidy from the council.

"We appreciate the creche is valued by some of our customers but, unfortunately, given current levels of usage we have no option other than to review the future of the facility."

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