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Daily shares determination to reopen closed leisure centres

A regional daily which tried to save two leisure centres from closure has shared campaigners’ determination that they will reopen in future.

The Newcastle Chronicle has backed community activists aiming to revive Gateshead Leisure Centre and Birtley Swimming Centre following their closure by Gateshead Council.

HTFP reported earlier this year how the Chronicle launched the ‘Save Our Leisure Centres’ campaign in a bid to give the facilities a new lease of life after they were threatened in cuts by the council.

The centres were later given a stay of execution after thousands of readers backed the campaign, but both closed their doors on Friday.

Gateshead Goodbye

The Chronicle splashed on their closure the following day but reported on fresh fundraising attempts by campaign group Gateshead Active to get the Gateshead facility back open by November.

The campaign is seeking to secure an initial £40,000 to help push ahead with the relaunch – with a longer-term target of £100,000.

Editor Sophie Barley told HTFP: “It was devastating to see the leisure centres close earlier this month. They are popular and well-used services and it is such a shame they will be shut for the school summer holidays.

“However hope is not lost and the dedication from the local community to get these facilities back up and running shows how vital this service is to the area.”

Robert Waugh, from the group, told the Chronicle: “I can’t see any reason why we should not be open at some point in November.

“1 November is the target, there may be some slippage on that but hopefully not much.”