Croydon Arena – an open letter
All of us at Croydon Harriers athletics club fully understand the difficult circumstances the pandemic has presented the Council, GLL and Better UK.
We also, of course, fully understand the necessity to close Croydon Arena in line with Government guidance at the start of lockdown.
However, given that standalone athletics tracks have been allowed to reopen since the 30th May, we are very disappointed that Croydon Arena remains closed, with no indication as to when it might re-open. It is one of the few tracks in the region that remains shut.
Croydon Arena is a vital community facility that promotes health and wellbeing to everyone that participates. Users of the facility range from six year-olds making their first steps in the sport with the Croydon Athletics Academy, to over 120 young athletes to adults of all ages who participate in a range of track and field events.
The subjects of physical health and mental well-being have been much discussed during this difficult period. We are especially concerned of the impact the pandemic and lockdown have had on young people’s mental and physical health. We are very aware that for many of our athletes, club sessions are the only social interactions that they may have. We know that the number of children taking part in at least 60 minutes of physical activity a day as recommended by the Chief Medical Officer to have dropped alarmingly from 47% to 19%. And we are acutely aware that the usual inequalities have continued with those from less affluent backgrounds and BAME backgrounds.
We are absolutely willing to work with the Council and Better UK to create a Covid-secure environment where the facility can re-open for our hundreds of members, as well as members of the public. We have risk assessments already completed, and workable ideas that can make the facility work for everyone and ensure it is Covid-secure.
We hope Croydon Council and Better UK reach out to us and other Croydon Arena users as a matter of urgency in order to get the facility back up and running in the very near future.
Yours in sport,