Published: 12:59, 09 June 2020
| Updated: 13:03, 09 June 2020
A commitment that the public can continue using Sandwich Leisure Centre has been pledged by its new owners, as a £30,000 fundraising campaign launches.
Former lease holders Sandwich Leisure Trust (SLT) surrendered the lease of the Deal Road facility to Sandwich Technology School (STS) on Thursday, May 28.
In a message on its website STS claims £250,000 worth of issues need to be addressed to make the site fit for use by its students and the public.
Management company Freedom Leisure will continue running the site in a new joint partnership with the school.
This will allow for the centre to open as soon as possible once lockdown restrictions are lifted.
The announcement said: "The school is willing to invest a significant amount of money to provide the students with good resources for their PE curriculum and Freedom Leisure is similarly determined to make the Sandwich Sports and Leisure Centre a going concern.
"However, the school has limited resources and Freedom Leisure is a not-for-profit company that, like many other businesses, has been hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic."
Head teacher Tracey Savage asks that every member of the school community spares £10 to raise over £15,000 and adds: "If residents of Sandwich and other parts of the local community helped too, who knows how much we could raise?Every penny would help to ensure that this valuable community asset is preserved for the good of everyone."
This week Freedom Leisure announced a trial period will commence from when the centre is allowed to reopen until the spring.
It said: "This trial will start when lockdown eases and it is hoped that an agreement will be reached for a new 10 year period.
"When the centre closed, along with all other centres in the country at the end of March, there was serious doubt as to whether it would be able to re-open.
"Since then the lease for the centre has been passed from Sandwich Leisure Trust to Sandwich Technology School."
As well as STS submitted a funding bid for improvement works to the sports hall, initial fundraising discussions are also underway concerning further improvement works.
The statement on the school's website added: "The Sports Hall floor has deteriorated to a point where it is no longer safe to use and we are keen to reinstate the facilities – not just for our students, but for the community."
A Just Giving page has been set up to help meet some of the costs to do these works. Donations can be made by clicking here.
A spokesman for Sandwich leisure Trust said: "After many years of stewardship from the Trust we have agreed to pass responsibility for the Sandwich Sports and Leisure Centre onto the school as the best way forward from the current situation as it now stands.
"We are reassured by the fact that the school has agreed to continue with its present commitment to community access to the centre.
"We urge residents of Sandwich and beyond to use the facilities once open to help secure their long term future in respect of community provision."