I hope this letter finds you in good health.

You may or may not know, but after serving as a Trustee for a little over five years, I have this year taken over as Chairman of the Trustees for Sturfit. Neil Watson who had been leading the trust for the last 10 years decided it was time to step down, and I was voted in to take the chair. I should add that we also need to extend our enormously grateful thanks to Rob Norton, another of Sturfit’s original Trustees who has decided to retire from the role this year – many of you will know Rob from around the centre, and I can assure you he’ll be sorely missed.

And what a challenging time for me to step up – I’m pretty sure I ordered a nice simple time with very little stress in my first few months as Chair, and not a worldwide pandemic!

However, please rest assured that although Sturfit is a non-profit charity organisation, we are as a team fully committed to the centre surviving this nightmare of a year, and will be right here ready to welcome you back just as soon as we may safely open the doors again! The Sturfit family is held together by our brilliant team of staff, of course; I just wanted to assure everyone that we have continued to support them, and will do so to the very best of our financial ability for as long as possible. We are currently investigating the grants that may be available to us which will hopefully mean they are safe & looked after for as long as it takes.

We’d also like to extend a grateful thank you to all those who have been able to continue with your membership whilst the centre is closed – as we have already said, we will work out how to compensate you for the loss of service once we are open, but in the meantime we are so very grateful for your continued support. And for those who have needed to cancel – we completely understand, and will of course be looking forward to welcoming you back just as soon as you are able to join us again.

We are currently working on ways to make the re-opening of the centre as safe as possible – it’s clear that even when the restrictions on leisure centres are lifted, there will need to be strict social distancing measures in place for the foreseeable future. There are lots of ways to work around this, and the team has had some great suggestions for how we’ll keep Sturfit open & busy but also safe for all. I will update you on those measures when it is time to do so – and before we reopen, of course!

In the meantime, I wanted to take the opportunity to remind all of you, our members, that the Sturfit family is still here for you.

Our class leaders and trainers have been absolutely brilliant through lockdown, and in addition to providing their own classes, they have created free video classes for us to share to help keep you fit and well (physically and mentally) while you’re at home.
Do come and follow us on Facebook; we’re there most days, and someone from the team is always around to answer a question or share a joke. And you can see all of the videos up on our shiny new YouTube channel here – or on our blog on the website here, whether you’re looking for some Pilates with Nyree, a strength-training home workout from Roger or a calorie burning exercise class from Sally-Ann, they’re all there entirely free and waiting for you, feel free to share with family and friends members or not. Have you always fancied trying a martial art, but been a bit too shy? Then maybe have a go at Kim’s Taekwondo session at home! And keep your eyes peeled for a kickboxing class from Karen at S.O.U.L , too.

And this week on the blog we’re starting a new ‘Roger Recommends’ series; our assistant manager (and marathon-runner) Roger is going to be sharing his personal experiences, tips and recommendations on the best sites, apps, programmes etc for you to use for your own fitness training at home and out and about in the Dorset countryside.

So – I’m very much looking forward to the time when it’s ‘business as usual’ and Sturfit is the busy community hub we all know and love. But in the meantime, do stay connected – remember the community is still right here, and it’s great to stay in touch.

Stay safe, stay well, and I look forward to seeing you all soon.

Best Regards,

Courtenay Hitchcock

Chairman of the Trustees

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