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Midlothian sports centre used as Covid vaccine hub to be returned to community

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A community sports centre which was taken over as a vaccination hub last year will be handed back next month.

Gorebridge Leisure Centre, in Midlothian, was transformed into an NHS Lothian centre in March last year as the Covid-19 vaccines programme was rolled out across the county.

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And it is estimated around 140,000 people went through its doors as it provided people with first, second and booster jabs.

This week health bosses thanked the people of Gorebridge for use of their leisure centre as they said it would be back in Midlothian Council’s hands by April 4.

Grace Cowan, head of primary care at Midlothian Health and Social Care Partnership, said moves were underway to move vaccine operations to one site at Midlothian Community Hospital.

However she said the hunt was on for an additional building to take some of the work as the booster programme began again for over-65s and high risk groups of people.

She said: “We have been very grateful for the use of Gorebridge over this period but we want to come off site and give it back to the local population for their sports facility and other uses as well.

Ms Cowan said the vaccine programmes was preparing to begin another round of boosters for over-65s and other vulnerable groups in the weeks ahead but was looking to bring everything onto the Midlothian Community Hospital (MCH) site from April 4.

However she said the search was on for another building which could be used to free some space at MCH up to deliver other programmes as well.”

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Councillor Jim Muirhead had asked the virtual meeting of the council’s cabinet when the Gorebridge centre would be open to people again.

He told the meeting: “Gorebridge has obviously been without these facilities. I think people have been generally happy, in the circumstances, that that is the case and to make that sacrifice but that obviously cannot go on forever.

“We need the facilities back. The important part of that is the sports facilities and, a lesser part folks might say, it is the place where we would normally hold our election voting in Gorebridge.”

Derek Oliver: the council’s chief officer place, said it was hoped the gym would be up and running within ten days of the handover.

He said: “As we remove stations from the football five-a-side hall we’ll ascertain the safety of it.

“If it is purely aesthetics – we have had I am told around 140,000 people going through there – if the surface is deemed safe we can then utilise it right away.”

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