Over the last few days we’ve had an increasing number of questions from parents and it’s clear that some are happy that we remain open whilst others believe we should close. At Arabian we have always tried to do the right thing by our gymnasts and staff, but it is clear that there are differences of opinions on this.
It’s very apparent that all of us are in for some uncertain times and we’re in unchartered territory. Many businesses, charities and individuals will struggle over the coming months as the effects of the virus take hold. Even worse, nobody seems to know how long this is likely to last, and it this uncertainty that makes any kind of forward planning difficult.
The current Government strategy is to slow the rate of spread through cancelling of large gatherings and social distancing for certain vulnerable groups, including the over 70’s. Currently, the Government are keeping schools open and allowing children to mix. Given the request to cancel large gatherings our annual club championships scheduled for May will be deferred until further notice.
Arabian are adhering to UK Government guidelines on this matter, as are British Gymnastics, our National Governing Body, as are the leisure centre. As such, we are currently still open as normal.
Ultimately of course, as parents, the choice of sending your child into gym or school is entirely yours and we will support your decision without question. All of the trustees have children and teenagers too, some of these still coaching and/or attending the club to train. Many of us also have parents that fall into the vulnerable category, so we absolutely understand the concerns.
In anticipation of comments we’d like to explain the logic behind this decision:
• We fully support any decision to stay away from the gym, this choice is entirely yours and yours alone.
It is up to you to evaluate your personal circumstances.
• Arabian is a ‘not for profit’ charitable organisation, technically a Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO) regulated by the Charities Commission. The club relies heavily on membership fees, Baby Gym and monthly training fees – without these we would not exist.
• Arabian has 25 staff, some of whom rely on their wages for their own households.
We have a duty to those staff to safeguard these positions as far as we are able.
• At this stage no other gymnastics club has been instructed to close. If we closed now, those wishing to continue could go elsewhere, further devastating our cash flow.
• Schools currently remain open and Gymnastics falls under the ‘Education’ umbrella – it also promotes exercise and fitness amongst children which the Government is keen to continue as long as possible.
• We are in communication with British Gymnastics, our governing body, and are taking all necessary precautions.
• Like you we are concerned about the current situation, but we also have a duty to protect the long-term financial stability of the club and those that that work within it.
Whilst we appreciate that you may disagree with the above, whilst we remain open it is your choice to refrain from sending your child but for the reasons above training fees are still payable. If you choose not to come or are not able to come through self-isolation or fear of passing on the virus to somebody vulnerable, we will do our best to implement make up sessions when things return to normal.
With the above said, it seems inevitable that further restrictions are likely, and we anticipate that in the near future schools and Bletchley Leisure centre will be told to close. Indeed, some local schools have partially closed already, not through coronavirus directly, but through lack of teachers.
If and when we close, we will of course keep all members updated via email, social media and our website. At this point we close training fees will not be payable, and we will happily refund any fees paid on a pro-rata basis.
The situation is extremely fluid, and all further updates will be emailed directly and posted on social media and the website. We will continue to closely monitor Government guidelines and comply with any requests made.
Just like you, our ways of life are changing, and we are working hard to adapt in the best interests of our gymnasts and our staff.
We’re in this together and are working hard to do everything in our power to take care of one another.
Thanks for your continued support and stay safe!