A BUSINESS owner has been left "absolutely devastated" by the sudden closure of a gym in the city centre. 

Sports Direct Fitness, on Summerlock Approach, emailed its members on Monday afternoon to inform them that it would be closing that day. 

Becky Eakins,45, runs Turtle Tots, a specialist swim school offering baby and toddler swimming lessons which was using the swimming pool at the gym.

She set up Turtle Tots in 2018 and started with about 20 swimmers. Since then, the sessions have expanded and now approximately, 200 swimmers attend sessions regularly.  

It had been using the swimming pool inside Sports Direct. Becky found out the gym was closing through a friend on Monday, and had no extra warning. 

Read more: Sports Direct Fitness Gym closes permanently

Becky, from Fordingbridge, said: “It’s absolutely devastating news that we have lost our brilliant Sports Direct pool. We are a small family run local business with just two teachers. It is a massive blow to us and may mean the loss of hours for the teachers or myself.

“We are equally devastated for the staff at Sports Direct who may have lost their jobs right before Christmas and the impact on the local community who use this gym regularly.”

Read more: Disappointment follow closure of Sports Direct Fitness

Salisbury Journal: Becky and son FinBecky and son Fin (Image: Turtle Tots)

“My problem is that I am not sure we are going to find another pool. A lot of pools have closed, and I know the cost of heating pools is an issue. Some pools turned the temperature down. It’s why we had to invest in thermal swimwear for children.”

Becky explained that young children struggle to regulate body temperature.

She said: “For many families, swimming is the highlight of their week, a chance to bond with their babies whilst learning lifesaving and swimming skills. Many of the parents cannot swim themselves or have a phobia about water and want their children to not be in the same position."

Salisbury Journal: Father and sonFather and son (Image: Turtle Tots)

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Turtle Tots is all about teaching children to be comfortable in the water.  

Becky said: “We are absolutely desperate to continue to support the swimming journey of our babies and toddlers and hope a local swimming pool will come forward and allow us some time in the pool on a Saturday or Sunday morning so we can get these little ones back in the pool."

Anna Cull is one parent who attends the Turtle Tot sessions.

She said: “Having had a negative experience with another swimming lesson supplier, Turtle Tots has been a breath of fresh air.

"Our two year old has really enjoyed his first term and his confidence in the water has increased dramatically.

"We were saddened to hear of the closure of Sports Direct and the impact this will have on so many children’s swimming journeys, but we hope a solution will be found, so they can continue.”  

Many pools have closed due to to financial pressures and the increased costs of maintenance. 

Turtle Tots would like anyone with a pool that is covered and being underused or an Air B and B with a pool,  to contact them on becky.eakins@turtletots.com.