Phoenix Pool and Gym staff overwhelmed by re-opening feedback

The newly refurbished and extended Phoenix Pool and Gym in Bradwell, Great Yarmouth.

The newly refurbished and extended Phoenix Pool and Gym in Bradwell, Great Yarmouth. - Credit: GYBC

Operators of Bradwell's Phoenix Pool and Gym say they have been overwhelmed by positive feedback following its re-opening and launch at the weekend.

Close to 1000 people turned out to the see the results of a £1.9m remodelling adding a spa and gym over two floors, bringing the number of new members to 862.

Chris Ames, of Sentinel Leisure Trust which runs the centre, said extra staff had been drafted in to cope with the numbers and that the complex was busy.

However the open weekend was not open to all according to one man who was left stranded in his car.

Wheelchair user Keith Bright, 56, of Lowestoft Road, Gorleston, was unable to enter the building, let alone take a dip, because the disabled parking and ramp were still fenced off.

Inside, his wife Glenys Bright was told by staff that the hoist wasn't in place either.

'I just found it sad,' Mrs Bright said. 'It just seemed like the disabled were an after thought. People tend to think that the disabled are elderly and that is just not the case. They want normal days out with their families like anyone else.

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'Keith was fed up and excluded.'

Artist Angie Hewitt was also unhappy with the service. She said confusion around membership and wristbands had made it a difficult experience for her 17-year-old son who has Asperger's syndrome and generalised anxiety disorder.

Mr Ames said the overwhelming experience of most people had been positive and that he was aware of the issue concerning Mr Bright.

He said builders would be off site this week freeing up 13 parking spaces and that the ramp would be opened as soon as the handrails arrived.

The hoist was on site, he said.

Penny Carpenter, chairman of the housing and neighbourhoods committee, who was among those to officially opened the pool last week, said: 'While feedback received, both direct to staff and on social media, has been overwhelmingly positive, the borough council would like to apologise for any issues which people faced during these first few days of opening, which has been very busy for the staff employed by Sentinel.

'The Phoenix is very much a facility for the whole community. The borough council takes all feedback very seriously and will be working closely with strategic leisure partner, Pulse, and centre operator, Sentinel Leisure Trust, to address and resolve individual concerns as soon as possible.'