Around the end of April (2017) instructors began to tell Sobell users that their classes were going to be disrupted because Better/GLL is building a trampoline park. For most Sobell users, this was the first time we heard about the trampoline park, and all of us were pretty unhappy about it.
We are unhappy because we weren’t consulted. We didn’t ask for a trampoline park, and no one thinks we need one. If we had been consulted, people would have said, no.
Why? Because nearly 50% of the indoor courts space will be lost to the community of people who have used it week after week, year after year — the 100s of badminton players, footballers, netballers, basketballers, volleyballers, as well as, wheelchair users and other users with specials needs, not to mention the young gymnasts.
They still want to use this space, and other Sobell members and users still want them to use it, too. What will happen to all of this activity and these people when half of the court space has gone?
The indoor courts are a precious, well-loved and well-used resource in a local leisure centre that whose purpose was to provide such a resource to ordinary people in the local community.
We weren’t asked
We don’t want that space to be given over to a trampoline park that so few of the current users will want or even be able to use.
Better/GLL may say they did consult on this. However, it was so minimal as to be imperceptible. The majority of Sobell members and users didn’t know anything about it until our instructors told us.
Better/GLL may say there were consultation materials at the front desk/reception area. However, given that Sobell users end up queuing out of the main doors at peak times because they are forced to get class tickets from reception because ‘non-attendance’ fines prevent them using the kiosks and there are only ever two Better/GLL staff at reception who prioritise answering the telephone rather than serving customers in front of them, perhaps they didn’t see them.
Better/GLL may say there were consultation materials on the noticeboards outside the studios. However, because the time it takes to get class tickets means Sobell users end up being late for their classes, perhaps they didn’t have time to look.
If you don’t want the trampoline park, complain to Better/GLL, make your views known to customer representatives, write to Islington Council, write to your local councillors, write to Islington’s MPs – Jeremy Corbyn and Emily Thornberry, write the to local press – Islington Gazette, Islington Tribune, Camden New Journal.
The trampoline park is Better/GLL’s latest act vandalism. This isn’t better. The Sobell and its members will be worse off. Less space will mean fewer activities and fewer users. We’ve got to stop this before Better/GLL further diminishes our beloved local sports facility. We can’t let them do this.
News links about the trampoline park
Sports force out to make way for Sobell Centre trampoline park — Islington Tribune
Olympics training venue into ‘novelty’ trampoline park — Evening Standard
General Election delays installation of trampoline park at Sobell Leisure Centre — Islington Gazette