High Life Highland has written to members advising how the charity plans to “bounceback from the global pandemic in line with the latest developments within Scottish Government Route Map to recovery. 

Steve Walsh, High Life Highland’s Chief Executive, said, “We care passionately about what we deliver to enhance the health and wellbeing our communities and are really looking forward to welcoming our many millions of customers back to our facilities and services over the forthcoming weeks and months and I am delighted that our bounceback campaign is already taking shape across all of our services.  

“In physically re-opening our facilities, HLH will place the safety of its customersits staff and its communities uppermost at every step of the way. This means that our bounceback will be a gradual process, where we will bring back services carefully, in a structured way that allows our customers to enjoy our facilities feeling safe and well protected at all times. 

“The next phase of our recovery will see more of our staff returning to prepare venues and services for re-opening. We have an increasing number of staff returning to their workplaces, working hard and making bounceback plans for the safe return of their customers and colleagues. 

“Our bounceback  programme will see many of our sites re-opening over the next few weeks to offer services that will take into account the guidance in the Scottish Government’s Route Map. 

We have been in touch with members advising them of the measures put in place to offer customers the reassurance needed that it is safe to return to our facilties. 

The Chief Executive went on to list some of the measures that the Highland Charity is putting in place to ensure customers and members feel safe on their return. He explained, “We will be introducing new booking systems at a number of our venues, where prior to the pandemic booking hadn’t been required. These bookable venues will include: libraries; archive centres; museums; art galleries and the Inverness Botanic Gardens and Nursery. 

“We will also be introducing hand sanitising stations at key points throughout our facilities and encouraging increased hand-hygiene from our users. This will be in addition to increasing our cleaning staff and enhancing our cleaning regimes – with programmed cleaning periods before and after activities; measures which in themselves may impact on the public opening hours of our sites. 

“As a precaution, it is our intention to monitor staff temperatures. We will also be implementing flow-management procedures in our larger and busier sites, as well as queue management processes being put in place. 

“In considering the number of customers admitted to any one location, it is extremely likely that numbers in classes and activities will be reduced in order to accommodate appropriate social distancing.  

Steve Walsh continued, “A vital part of our bounceback campaign will be to ensure the safety of customers when they visit our sites.  We will be asking anyone that has any COVID-19 symptoms or who may have come into contact with the virus to stay away from our sites until they have completed the self-isolation and testing guidance in place at that time. 

The Highland Charity is also planning on creating welcome videos and holding open days for its busier sites. This will help members and customers navigate the changes, as well as highlight some of the helpful measures put in place to support social distancing and improved hygiene at our many locations across the region 

Steve Walsh commented, “Given the importance of physical and mental health and wellbeing as people across the Highlands move out of lockdown, my team and I had been hopeful that we’d have received some news from yesterday’s First Minister’s briefing with regards to opening leisure centres and swimming poolsHowever, from the briefing it is clear that these locations look unlikely to open before the end of the month 

Regardless, HLH remain committed to working with the Scottish Government, sportscotland, The Highland Council and other partners as well as continuing to work behind the scenes to ensure that communities will have access to fitness and swimming facilities within a reasonable traveling distance when the current restrictions are relaxed or removed and when it is safe to do so. 

The Chief Executive concluded,  I hope that the introduction of our bounceback campaign will offer all our customers and service-users assurance that we are doing everything we possibly can to get them back to business-as-usual and as soon as we can.”