The Athlone Regional Sports Centre and Bloomfield Leisure Centre, Mullingar have been named as the only two leisure facilities in Westmeath to receive the White Flag award for 2010.
The sports centres are among 87 spa and leisure facilities from across Ireland to be awarded the White Flag by ILAM, the industry body for sports, fitness, aquatic, outdoor, spa and wellness facilities.
This year’s White Flag Awards, which are supported by Ireland’s largest insurer Hibernian Aviva, were presented by Minister for State Aine Brady TD at a gala dinner hosted by RTE’s Michael Lyster in the Burlington Hotel, Dublin last Friday, October 23.
A record number of facilities applied for the 2010 White Flag Award, with 87 leisure facilities in 23 counties achieving the prestigious award. No flags were awarded in Longford, Louth, or Leitrim.
The White Flag Award is now in its ninth year and recognises high standards of excellence in health and leisure facilities. The awards criteria ensure that fitness and gym instructors are properly qualified, facilities are clean, hygienic, and safe, and that equipment is maintained correctly.
According to CEO of ILAM, Kilian Fisher, “There are over 650 leisure facilities in Ireland and the White Flag Award is an essential mark of quality that any gym, swimming pool, spa or leisure facility must strive to achieve. It is a clear sign that the leisure facility has high standards and employs staff who operate to the industry code of practice.
“Following recent drownings in swimming pools, and fatalities and serious accidents/injuries in health suites and other sports/club areas, it is essential now, more than ever, that leisure facilities/clubs are operated by trained personnel to the White Flag standards. In the absence of legislation, the White Flag Award is the only measure of self regulation to ensure quality standards and best practice in Irish leisure facilities.”