FURIOUS residents have pleaded with Glasgow Life to reopen a gym at the “heart” of the community.

Exercise facilities opened up across the city earlier this week after being closed for months throughout the lockdown, but the Penilee Community Centre gym has remained shut.

Critics have called on the Gleddoch Road hub to reopen as soon as possible amid fears for the mental health of people in the area.

Councillor Jim Kavanagh has called for Glasgow Life to “follow guidelines” laid down by the Scottish Government by reopening the gym.

The politician claimed staffing issues were to blame for the continued closure.

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He said: “I’ve spoken to a number of officers and been told Penilee’s community gym is not reopening due to staffing levels.

“The Scottish Government has given approval for all gyms to reopen, but the centre’s gym will remain closed.

“This is completely unfair. We’ve been asking and asking for vital facilities within the centre to reopen and it just isn’t happening.”

Residents in the area have repeatedly called for the centre to open its doors – claiming it had been forgotten by Glasgow Life, the charity which runs the facility on behalf of Glasgow City Council.

The venue is home to a number of local clubs as well as a day-care service run by Capability Scotland.

A member of the Hillington North, Cardonald and Penilee Community Council said it was of the “utmost importance” those using the gym and other facilities were allowed to gain access to the popular spot once again.

She said: “We need our centre and we can’t understand why other places are opening and we’re not.”

Last week, the Glasgow Times launched the Save our Venues campaign in a bid to secure the future of sites such as this.

A list has confirmed 11 community centres and halls, 10 bowling centres, five libraries, four pitch and putts, three museums and two Glasgow Club Gyms are not planned to reopen.

Penilee is currently open for essential childcare purposes only, with no update on when – or if – there are plans to fully reopen the site.

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A spokeswoman for Glasgow Life said:“Since first reopening in July last year, Penilee Community Centre has been open for essential adult care purposes only. The rest of the venue, including the community gym, is not currently open to the public.

“The community gym within the centre is a small, locally-managed space, and is not part of the wider Glasgow Club network. Reopening this part of the venue would require additional staff resource over and above that which is already in place to support the facility being open for essential adult care.

“We have been very clear for some time now about the impact of the pandemic on Glasgow Life. It has affected our ability to fully reopen venues and run the services, events and experiences we are proud of delivering for the people of Glasgow and visitors to the city.

“In line with this, we are prioritising staff resources across all Glasgow Life venues and, with our operating budget for 2021/22 confirmed as nearly 15% lower than our pre-pandemic budget, we are not in a position to recruit any new employees. The £100m safety net recently announced by Glasgow City Council will be used in its entirety reopening the more than 90 facilities across the city that we have already announced. Without those funds, even fewer facilities would be able to open. The increased financial security provided by the Council will allow us to reopen a third more venues than the initial 61 we indicated in July last year.

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“Glasgow Life faces the same difficult choices that many other organisations face in the wake of the pandemic, which for us has meant a near complete loss of income. While some venues do not have planned reopening dates, that doesn’t mean we are not already exploring opportunities for the alternative provision of their services or for communities to become more involved in running them.

“Three Glasgow Life venues are already being run by local organisations as part of Community Activation Pilots and more than 150 expressions of interest have been received through the People Make Glasgow Communities programme, including for some Glasgow Life venues that do not currently have reopening dates. The initiative was launched just two months ago and it will take time to assess these and further applications.”