Community centres in Dundee are finally open for business, six months after they were forced to close their doors due to Covid-19.
Also opening yesterday, in what the local authority hopes will be a gradual return to normality, were Finmill, Douglas, Hilltown, Ardler and Charleston centres.
Nicky MacCrimmon, community and learning development manager at Menzieshill, said staff were delighted to now be able to offer fitness and exercise along with other services.
“It has to be a gradual return as we work out as we go how things are going to work, but it is a start,” he said.
“We are asking people to book for their classes and we are so far having to restrict numbers.
“However, as we gradually see how things are going to work out we will hopefully soon be able to offer more and more classes along with other services we run from the centres, including here at Menzieshill.”
He added: “I would like to think that by the end of October beginning of November we are in a position to start offering as full a programme as we can of events.”
“There are a few groups that won’t be able to go ahead yet that involve music, such as signing and dancing sessions but we will continue to monitor regulations and guidelines and work around those as best we can.”
Mike Welsh, Menzieshill’s learning and development manager said the centre was also keen to restart groups such as the adult literacy programme, CONNECT advice group, the North Law legal group and the Money Action Centre, adult learning classes, youth groups and mother and toddler classes.
He added: “One good thing that came out of lockdown is that we really began to recognise the issues that affect areas like Menzieshill.
“We have spoken to a lot of people who live locally and we think it will help us to tailor the services we offer post lockdown to suit the needs of local residents.
“We believe their needs will be different from before with people facing issues such as furlough, job loss and anxiety and worry over the general situation.”
Among the first groups back to use the centre’s gym is a Tabata class, a Japanese form of high intensive training run by instructor Kirsty Brough.
Kirsty said: “I continued to run online classes for Dundee City Council during lockdown but it’s great to be back teaching face to face and meeting up with my pupils once more.
Among them were Jackie Grant, 60, from the Hilltown who said: “I really missed just seeing everyone during lockdown. It’s great to be back to chat to everyone.”
Maggie Thomson, 69, from the West End said: “I feel really comfortable coming here because they have taken all the right measures to make sure everything is kept clean and distanced to make sure everyone stays safe.”