Two leisure facilities in Athlone were delighted this week to receive the 2011 White Flag award, the national quality mark for gyms, swimming pools, spas, and indoor leisure facilities in Ireland.
Athlone Regional Sports Centre achieved the standard for the eighth year running, while there was a new recipient this year in Zen Fitness and Leisure at the Athlone Springs Hotel which was awarded the White Flag for the first time ever.
Other local facilities receiving the award include the Carlton Shearwater Hotel Leisure Club, Ballinasloe, which picked up the award for the first time; Kingfisher Club, Ballinasloe; Abbey Health and Fitness in Roscommon; the Bridge House Hotel Leisure Club, Tullamore; and the Tullamore Court Hotel Leisure Centre.
The White Flag Award is the quality mark that every leisure facility in Ireland must strive to achieve. It is designed to provide a quality standard for swimming pools, sports halls, fitness studios, health suites, spas, and gyms, in the absence of government legislation.
A total of 89 leisure facilities and spas from across Ireland received the 2011 White Flag award, with 15 receiving it for the first time and 10 dedicated facilities receiving the award for their 10th consecutive year.
This year’s White Flag Awards, which celebrate their 10th anniversary, were presented at a gala dinner hosted by RTE’s Michael Lyster in Lynch’s Breaffy House Resort Hotel near Castlebar in Co Mayo on Thursday, October 14.
Launched in 2001 and developed by ILAM, the industry body which represents sports, fitness, aquatic and outdoor facilities, spas, and wellness facilities in Ireland, the White Flag Award is an independently audited quality award, recognised throughout the leisure industry, endorsed by Fáilte Ireland and the Irish Hotels Federation and supported by Aviva Insurance.
White Flag standards are extremely high and as a result over 20 leisure facilities have failed to meet the White Flag strict criteria since the award’s inception.