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GLL facilities get a battering during storm Eunice

Social enterprise, GLL, was forced to close 26 of its leisure centres on Friday 18 February due to historic storms raging in the UK.
Two team members were taken to hospital after having been hit by flying debris.
Bude Leisure Centre was one of the worst affected, with 20 per cent of the roof being ripped off.
GLL set up an emergency room in its headquarters to deal with damage reports.
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It was clear Friday was going to be no ordinary day
Mark Sesnan, CEO, GLL

Two staff were injured and Twenty Six GLL leisure facilities had to close their doors on Friday 18 February, as storm Eunice swept west across the UK and Europe with devastating force and speed.

Mark Sesnan, CEO of GLL, told HCM "We operate all the main public leisure centres in Cornwall and Cardiff and we went into Friday 18th with Met Office red alerts covering most of the southwest.

"Eastern Leisure Centre in Cardiff was already closed, as it had been designated as a Cardiff Council emergency services hub and rescue centre and late on Thursday evening, the whole of the south-east and London were added to the red zone. It was clear Friday was going to be no ordinary day."

Storm Eunice ended up shutting 26 GLL leisure centres, with Sesnan setting up an emergency room at its Middlegate House headquarters in Woolwich, London.

Social media and web staff were on hand to keep customers informed, while senior managers and facility management team members analysed the severity of each damage report as it came in.

"The first came in at 9.15am from Bude leisure centre in Cornwall," says Sesnan "20 per cent of the roof had been blown off and a customer’s car had been damaged. Newquay Leisure World had to close as a tree crashed down across the entrance. Helston Leisure Centre was also closed due to wind damage and then worrying reports came in from Saltash Leisure Centre.

"Two members of staff at Saltash were reported injured, with one being taken by ambulance to hospital. They had been checking the outside areas when a piece of roofing blew off an adjacent building and hit them.

"Fortunately, the staff member was released from hospital, although they're suffering from slight concussion and bruising."

Although the southwest was hit first, as the wind abated in Cornwall it moved on to hit London.

"Fortunately, there were no more injuries," says Sesnan, "but there were plenty of centre closures and some significant roof damage to buildings.

"By Saturday morning we had nearly all our facilities back open, although Bude Pools, South Reading Leisure Centre and Better Gym Basildon are still being assessed for damage and await a re-opening schedule."

In addition to damaging GLL facilities, storm Eustice also ripped part of the roof off the O2 Arena in London's docklands.

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Two staff were injured and Twenty Six GLL leisure facilities had to close their doors on Friday 18 February, as Storm Eunice swept west across the UK with devastating force and speed.

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