Howzat! Good news for Bedford clubs as Fusion u-turn

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Bunyan Centre
The Bunyan Centre is one of the sites managed by Fusion on behalf of Bedford Borough Council Image: Google, Streetview (May 2017)

Fusion Lifestyle, who operate the John Bunyan Sports and Leisure Centre in Bedford, have performed a dramatic U-turn, reinstating long-held bookings for two Bedford clubs.

Following an investigation by James Coyne on behalf of the Bedford Independent, it was revealed that Bedfordshire Indoor Cricket League (BICL), RollBack World and Spiral Freerunners had all had their bookings cancelled to make way for a basketball booking.

Read: Sports clubs’ anger after Fusion cancel Bunyan Centre bookings

Since the publication of our story, BICL were called to a meeting with representatives of Fusion on Friday 14 June and Rob Beckford of RollBack World attended a meeting today (Wednesday).

Both clubs have had their cancellations over-turned, allowing them to continue to run their popular events.

“We’re glad that Fusion have made this decision,” said Rob Beckford. “Our skating events regularly attract over 200 kids and adults who come along to have fun and get active.

“We bring diverse activities to the centre and are pleased that our commitment has been recognised.”

“It goes without saying that the BICL committee are pleased and relieved at the outcome to reverse the original decision,” said Phil Gurney of the Bedfordshire Indoor Cricket League.

“Despite the uncertainty of the last couple of weeks, it was always our preferred outcome to continue our relationship with Bunyan Centre and to take our time there beyond the last 45 winters.

“It was confirmed on Friday by the Fusion Regional Manager that following a meeting between all parties, that the BICL booking would be reinstated.

“Subsequent contact with the Bunyan Centre General Manager is awaited to finalise exact dates however we would hope that they will be confirmed for mid-October onwards.

“It is believed and hoped that this be a long term continuation of the same booking held by BICL since 1975.

“Thanks have to be extended in particular to Martin Darlow from the ECB, Mayor Dave Hodgson and Councillor McMurdo from Beds Borough, and numerous people from the cricket family that have provided their support and have lobbied the senior Fusion management to reconsider.

“We have also had contact from three other sites from across Bedford wishing to discuss the use of their facilities.”

A spokesperson for Fusion Lifestyle said: “Due to recent press coverage regarding club bookings at John Bunyan Sports & Fitness, we wanted to confirm the situation.

“We value all of our users at John Bunyan Sports & Fitness. Regular programme reviews are carried out to ensure that we are offering the best and most affordable service possible and we reserve the right to make changes to our programmes where required.

“We are currently working with all hirers, including the Bedfordshire Indoor Cricket League, to make sure future bookings are reviewed fairly to ensure we always welcome user groups from a range of different sports and offer a range of activities to cater for all of our local communities.”

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