Armoury community gym reopens after four months

The team at the Armoury Gym in Hampstead get ready to reopen

The team at the Armoury Gym in Hampstead get ready to reopen - Credit: Archant

The former drill hall in Pond Street, Hampstead threw open its doors to members with a mantra to make them feel safe and comfortable during workouts

Staff at the Armoury community gym in Pond Street threw open the doors today (Monday) for the first time since March.

The move follows the relaxation of Government rules to allow the reopening of gyms and leisure centres over the weekend.

Club manager Leighton Wattes said 2m social distancing, multiple sanitising stations, reduced capacity, and an enhanced anti-viral cleaning regime are in place to comply with safety regulations.

The gym’s 1,000 members, who range from teenagers to pensioners, will also have to bring their own towel, and will not be allowed to share equipment or work out together.

“Gyms are some of the cleanest environments so we were a bit frustrated to be so late in the game of reopening, long after the pubs,” he said.

“We would bump into members on the street who said they were itching to come back and they couldn’t believe it had been so long. They said working out alone was simply not as good as being in a companionable atmosphere.”

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The Hampstead gym is among four fitness centres run by sports charity The Jubilee Hall Trust, who use income from fees to offer subsidised gym memberships to low income residents, run community fitness schemes, and host cardiac rehabilitation programmes with local hospitals.

“We have been working hard to ensure everything is prim and proper,” added Leighton.

“Luckily the gym is very spacious, with plenty of ventilation and we have looked at capacity usage on each station and piece of kit. I feel very safe in my gym.”

He accepts that some will be “apprehensive” and wants to reassure them that everything is in place to protect them.

“Masks are not mandatory but it will make some people feel comfortable to wear them. A lot of our members are over 60 so we are running sessions from 8-9am for over 60s only.

“The staff are here 40 hours a week and we feel comfortable. We want to cater for all concerned and make sure it’s a relaxed environment that is not scary.

“The gym has always been a social hub for the village and most of all we want people to feel it’s safe and like The Armoury of old.”

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