RESIDENTS are distraught after it was revealed a much-loved community community gym is set to close due to a lack of funding.

The Health Hub - formerly Sharples Leisure Centre - is set to close in September, leaving people without a popular community hangout.

The former Sharples Leisure Centre complex, which has a fitness suite, swimming pool and sports hall, was taken over by Sharples School after previously being owned by Bolton Council.

Cllr Hilary Fairclough, ward councillor for Astley Bridge, says she is doing everything she can to ensure the site does not close.

She said: “I have had a large number of residents contact me with the news of the closure and I am meeting up with the school early next week to see if there is anything that can be done to keep the hub open.

“Many residents have said that over the past few months in particular, it has had an enormous effect on their mental and physical health and clearly it is very important that we try to help that continue.

“We all know what a high price everyone has paid during this Covid pandemic,

“The Health Hub is a small and friendly facility that has been really appreciated by those residents who do not have the confidence to go to bigger establishments. It’s very local and in the heart of the community - which is very important.”

But she added that the school has tried hard to keep the Health Hub going - but cannot use funds provided for children’s education to do so.

Resident Kim Riley said: “I’m absolutely gutted. After battling cancer and depression last year it’s been great to get out and I really enjoy the classes.

“I feel so comfortable at the hub, it’s like one big family.

“No-one judges and the atmosphere is good - this facility is needed more than every not only for health and fitness but for mental health.”

A statement from Sharples School read: “It is with regret that from September 1 the Health Hub at Sharples will be closed to the general public.

“Community groups and clubs will continue to be able to book the facilities direct from the school.”

“Thank you to all members of the general public who have used and supported the Health Hub at Sharples over the years.”