Local Lockdown Update

The bunting has actually been taken down to be washed but don’t worry, despite the local lockdown we are still open!

 A spike in COVID-19 infections in the region has led to tighter restrictions,                                       including a ban on meeting and socialising in homes, in bars and restaurants and in other public venues. People may still visit these venues but only with others from their own household or support bubble.

There is no bar on the use of indoor sports facilities BUT we have had to make some temporary changes:

* The Gym will remain OPEN;

* The Indoor Tennis Court has been CLOSED;

* The Squash Courts are OPEN for individual training and family/ support bubble play ONLY;

The squash junior programme, relaunched on Tuesday, has had to be suspended but will resume (fingers crossed) in September;

Meanwhile Head Professional Julianne Courtice will continue her online court fitness sessions every Sunday @ 3pm.

Members are asked be especially vigilant in regards to maintaining social distancing (2m wherever possible) – including on the deck and in the car park – observing the one-way systems and using the hand sanitisers.

Please wipe down touch points – Gym equipment and door handles in particular – after use.

Welcome Back to The Northern!

We’ve been mopped and polished from top to bottom, the floor signs are down, the sanitisers are up, the lights are on and the clocks are ticking again …

We’re all ready for a SAFE return to indoor sport on Saturday 25th.

So here’s some stuff you need to know:

 Opening Times: 7am – 9pm, Mon – Fri; 9am – 6pm, weekends;

 Bar opening times: 4.30pm – 9pm Mon – Fri; 11am – 3.30pm @ weekends

 The Club can accept card payments only, for all services:

The Bar will continue to run a takeaway service, accessed from the Deck;

The disabled toilet adjacent to Squash Court 4 is available for use, in addition to the toilet in the Indoor Tennis Court building, but changing rooms remain closed; (Members with disabilities may arrange with Reception to use the Disabled Changing Room);

Cleaners will be on site during the day but PLEASE use the sanitiser spray to cleanse the area after using the toilet;

A one-way system is clearly marked out but we’re not a huge building, PLEASE make way for other members using the same route when necessary!

 The Gym:

* 1-hour timed slots are available to book now on MindBody;

* Users will enter by the usual door and exit via the fire escape;

* Windows must be kept open whenever the gym is in use, to facilitate good air flow;

* The Gym has been rearranged to ensure safe social distancing – please respect the one-way system and ‘Out of Use’ signage;

* Please use the sanitisers provided when entering and leaving;

* Please wipe down all equipment with sanitiser spray after use;

* And yes – the PTs will be back in action!

The Squash Courts:

* 1 hour court slots are available to book now on MindBody: this allows for 40 minutes play and 20 minutes to air the court before the next players arrive;

* Players will enter via Reception and leave via the exit adjacent to the ladies’ changing rooms;

* Please use the hand sanitiser provided before entering and leaving the courts;

* The squash balcony is closed to everyone except the coaching team;

* Match play is only permitted between members of the same household or family support bubble; two people from different households are allowed on court together but must maintain social distancing;

* For advice on ‘Ways to Play’ please see the posters on the notice boards.


 * Outdoor courts will continue to be accessed via the car park: PLEASE respect the one-way system around the Indoor Court building;

* Members using the Indoor Tennis Court will enter via Reception and follow the one-way system to the exit door adjacent to the ladies’ changing rooms;

* Members will access and leave the Indoor Court Building by the normal route but please respect social distancing in the foyer area.

It will take a little getting used to – but it’s great to have you back at last!

Step this way – a guide to navigating the clubhouse safely

Four months ago, on the evening of Friday 20th March, Chairman Neville Hewer and General Manager Graham Brindley received the news that leisure facilities must close, sent a sad message of apology to the Club members, locked the front door and went home.

Eighteen weeks and 12 hours later, at 9am on Saturday 25th July, the door will open again – welcome back!

(But please remember to follow the little arrows …)

For the first week of opening, Members heading for the outdoor courts will continue using the route through the car park.

Members using the indoor tennis courts, squash courts or gym will enter through Reception and pick up the one-way system, designed to protect social distancing and guide people safely through the building.

There will be no exit via Reception and the bar service will continue to be accessed from the deck only.

* Gym users will turn left up the stairs to the gym, where the arrows will lead them down either side of the equipment. They will exit the gym via the fire escape.

* Indoor tennis court users will turn right down the steps/ ramp and then left to exit via the door near the ladies’ changing rooms.

* Squash players will follow the same route both to access the courts and to leave after playing.

“We are anxious to avoid having members gather in the Reception area,” said Graham. “Reception will be strictly one-way.

“Some pinch points are unavoidable elsewhere, particularly at the bottom of the ramp and by the exit door but we’re relying on Members to be courteous and stand back until their way is clear.

“We’re asking outdoor court users to continue entering around the side of the Club just while we confirm that the we’re not getting any congestion down that side corridor.”

The disabled toilet by the squash courts 1 – 4 will be available for use but changing rooms will remain closed and the squash balcony is also closed, except for coaches conducting sessions.

Squash is back on court!

It won’t be quite as we know it but it’s definitely squash – at last!

Courts will reopen from next Saturday, the 25th, with important social distancing guidelines to ensure safe play. These include:

* Match play with members of the same household or support bubble only;

* Two people from different households playing ‘Sides’ a modified form of squash, or training on opposite sides of the court;

* Socially distanced individual coaching and group coaching for up to 5 people but no more than two on court at one time;

* Court sessions of 1 hr, to allow for 40 mins play with a 20 min gap for the court to ‘air’ before the next players arrive;

* Changing rooms will not be open so players should arrive ready to play and take all their belongings on court with them;

* Players must sanitise their hands before and after play.

Full details of the safety procedures will be posted on the notice boards this week or for the full England Squash guidelines go to https://data.englandsquash.com/files?fileName=England%20Squash%20Back%20To%20Squash%20Guidelines%20v1%20140720.pdf

 Meanwhile Head Coach Anna Vaughan Hawkins is planning a Bubble Squads coaching programme centred around family groups and Head Pro Julianne Courtice is working on an injury avoidance guide for enthusiastic returnees.

“The main thing is to take it easy,” she said. “However hard you’ve worked at keeping fit for the last four months, we all know that squash crucifies the parts that other exercise doesn’t reach!”

Julianne is continuing her online court fitness sessions every Sunday for as long social distanciing restrictions remain in place but will miss next Sunday (26th).

Gym re-opens July 25th

Time starts to move again at the Northern on July 25th.

The gym will re-open, the first floor power will be switched back on and the hands of the Club clock – stuck on 7.00 since the start of lockdown – will start to move at last.

 In line with the latest Government guidelines, the Club gym will be open to members from Saturday July 25th. Work will start this week on re-positioning the kit to create socially distanced workspaces, sanitising equipment will be available and users will be asked to wear gloves.

“Some of the equipment will have to be moved out altogether to create safe spaces,” said Gym Rep Lisa Pilkington. “There will also be a one-way system for entry and exit and we are working on the best way to limit numbers.

“But in spite of the restrictions – it’s great to be back up and running at last!”

For now, the exercise studio will remain closed and the Club is waiting for further guidance from the LTA and England Squash on when indoor courts can safely reopen. More details will be published next week.

Club Bar re-opens today!

Takeaway drinks and snacks will be available from the Club bar from 4pm today, Monday 6th.

 And a big ‘welcome back’ to Bar Manager Lee Wilde who will be launching the initial service!

To begin with, this will operate from 4.30pm – 9pm Monday to Friday and from 11am – 3.30pm at weekends, serving tea and coffee, a selection of soft drinks and bottled beers, plus some snacks, for consumption on the deck.

Screens, a one-way system and social distancing reminders have been installed – these safety measures, the opening hours and the service offering will all be reviewed during the week.

“This is an exciting step forward in our journey back to normality,” said General Manager Graham Brindley.

“It’s a cautious start because we have to ensure that we can protect Members and staff from any risk of infection as we start to open up again – but if everyone supports the service and respects the safety measures we have in place, then we can build on this beginning and move forward.”

The Club is still not permitted to open the main building but one of the toilets in the indoor tennis court building will be made available, also from Monday.

It will be checked and cleaned regularly by a member of staff but Club Members are asked to please use the sanitisers provided both before and after use.

Please note that the indoor tennis courts themselves will NOT be open.

Jonny K: coach to the stars …

Tennis Director Jonny Kinsella welcomed a couple of celebrity clients onto the courts last week when first the former Lord Mayor Carl Austin-Behan and then ex-Emmerdale star Adam Thomas turned up to try out the Northern grass.

Carl confessed to being a complete novice: “I’ve just no coordination at all,” he admitted sadly – but soon got the bug. His hour-long session stretched on … and on … and he told his Twitter followers later:

As lock down starts to ease I thought I would try my hand at #tennis After an enjoyable and structured lesson with Jonny Kinsella @TheNorthernMCR I think I’ve found a sport that I can really get in to – Fantastic courts and facilities on our doorstep” @MCCDidsbury @MCCWithington https://t.co/Rj3rrIi8qx

Meanwhile Adam, who now owns a bar in Gatley, has played before but soon decided he hadn’t been playing the same game as Jonny … “been playing tennis wrong my whole life!” he told his Instagram followers cheerfully.

Outdoor classes launch at the Northern

‘Brilliant’ – ‘like being on a yoga retreat’ – ‘THIS is the new normal!’

Outdoor classes are clearly  here to stay after an enthusiastic reception from members who attended Sarah Later’s yoga session on Sunday morning.

Despite heavy rain overnight, the grass in front of the deck had drained well and was dry by 11am when the permitted five members bagged their socially distanced workout spaces for the first ever outdoor studio class at the Northern.

It was a first for Sarah too: “I’ve only ever taken outdoor sessions in Spain before,” she said. “The grass is a more challenging surface for balancing but apart from that the only problem is having the sun in your eyes when you’re trying to concentrate!”

Nicer problems to have ….

Tennis coaching is back!

Jonny Kinsella and the coaching team are back on court and one-to-one coaching IS available to book NOW via MindBody.

Group coaching, for up to six people (including the coach) is pencilled in for early July.

“The LTA has given us permission to start group coaching on condition we successfully maintain current social distancing requirements,” said Tennis Chairman John Egan.

“The plan is to have the new Tennis Programme options available by the start of next month and this will be advertised in due course.”

For further information please contact rackets@thenorthern.co.uk

DoublesDoublesDoublesDoublesDoubles …

Meanwhile, the latest Government guidelines confirm that players from different households can now play doubles together, as long as they stay two metres apart as far as possible.

And with 19 courts now open for play, if you haven’t already reactivated your membership, now is definitely the time to do it – just contact accounts@thenorthern.co.uk – and we look forward to seeing you very soon!

Naomi launches Northern grass

It takes more than a global pandemic to stop Des opening the Northern’s grass courts on time …

Working single-handed and eking out the remains of last year’s lining fluid, Head Groundsman Des Ruchwaldy had three grass courts ready for Thursday morning. Now that the fluid delivery has finally turned up, the rest will follow.

And first on court to launch the grass season was Club member and international tennis star Naomi Broady.  “With the entire grass season being cancelled this year, I was really disappointed I wouldn’t get to play on my favourite surface at all,” said Naomi, who has clocked up nearly 30 singles and doubles titles on the international circuit.

“I was so excited to hear they’re now open! We’re so lucky to have a groundsman like Des who has worked so hard and got them ready and open for us all to enjoy.

“They are playing beautifully as always and it gives us a chance to enjoy this lovely weather safely during lockdown.”

Grass, synthetic and clay courts are all bookable via MindBody.