Steve Walsh, Chief Executive of High Life Highland today confirmed that his teams were working hard to ensure that the Charity was closely following the recommendations made by the Scottish and UK Governments.
Mr Walsh said, “Statements made by the Prime Minister and First Minister last night represented a decisive alteration in the guidance for social interaction. Whether it is in Leisure, Community Centres, Libraries, Visitor Attractions, Music Tuition, Sport, Archives, Youth Work or Adult Learning, High Life Highland’s purpose is one that brings individuals, groups and communities together. The challenge we face in reducing social interaction is therefore significant, and our sense of moral responsibility, acute.
Our first priority will always be the health, safety and wellbeing of our staff and customers. Our approach will continue to be work closely with partners in The Highland Council and NHS Highland, as well as listening and adhering to health protection and government advice.
The Charity Chief Executive went on, “Thus far, we have been taking precautionary measures to continue to offer services. However, it is inevitable that our ability to maintain our programme will be significantly, if not completely curtailed over the course of the forthcoming hours, days weeks and months and OUR teams across all services have been developing contingency arrangements.
We are currently taking the view that HLH will take decisions on a case by case basis. Where there is demand and we can deliver activities at our venues safely, then we will continue to do so. Our customers should rest assured that, where there is any doubt or risk to health and wellbeing, then services will be reduced or stopped.
HLH will continue to monitor what is a rapidly developing situation closely and continue to follow national guidance regarding COVID-19 and one that we know is quite literally changing on an hour-by-hour basis.
Mr Walsh went on to explain, “Over the last number of days we have asked users that would fall into the groups that the government would refer to as “high risk” to not visit any HLH sites until further notice. We will also be ceasing all group activities as of Wednesday 18th March across all services; this would include activities such as library classes; group fitness and swimming lessons.
It is important to give our customers an opportunity to make alternative arrangements where they may have booked activities or events with HLH – and therefore we have also taken a decision to cancel large scale events like our Easter “School’s Out” Activity programme; the Indoor Car Boot Sale at Inverness Leisure and the Safe Highlander event across the Highlands.
The Chief Executive concluded, “We will continue to communicate with our customers, providing regular updates using our website and local social media sites as regularly as we possibly can.
Our teams are part of the fabric of communities across the Highlands, we will do all that we can to support our communities through the unprecedented times ahead. The challenge for Charity Trusts like High Life Highland at times like this are significant, our aim will be to come through what could be the fight of our lives, whilst protecting jobs and safeguarding our facilities and services, so that families will be able to continue to enjoy them in the future.”