‘We’ve only just begun’ - says new manager of Foyle Arena

Steve Setterfield, manager of the new Foyle Arena. DER2215-114KM
Steve Setterfield, manager of the new Foyle Arena. DER2215-114KM

It’s been open for just a month but already the Foyle Arena has signed up 800 members to its state of the art gym.

The children’s swimming lessons are operating at full capacity and council is about to announce the name of the company who won the tender for the on site coffee shop.

Foyle Arena manager Steve Setterfield. DER2215-112KM

Foyle Arena manager Steve Setterfield. DER2215-112KM

But it hasn’t all been plain sailing for the centre after unforeseen circumstances meant the pool was forced to close over the bank holiday weekend.

But Sport and Leisure Operations Manager with the Foyle Arena, Steve Setterfield says there was always going to be a few teething problems and things are about to get even bigger and better at the centre.

“Things are going very well,” he said. “Obviously there have been teething problems such as the huge demand for children’s swimming lessons. At the moment we can’t cope with that demand but we will. I don’t like to have waiting lists.”

He said that the Foyle Arena boasts a wealth of skills when it comes to staff.

“Our staff in Derry and Strabane are well trained,” he said. “We have good swimming teachers on the staff but at the moment not enough to satisfy the demand for lessons.

“Since I’ve been here I’ve met so many people who told me they learned to swim in Lisnagelvin pool. Now what we’ll see is an even greater volume of people saying their children learned to swim in Foyle Arena.”

A problem that hit the centre was when the pool had to close over the bank holiday weekend.

“It’s not a great thing to happen any weekend,” said Steve, “but especially not a bank holiday weekend. It’s regrettable but we couldn’t safely operate the pool. Health and safety is a big factor.”

With 17 years working in the leisure industry, first as a fitness instructor, Steve has worked in a number of leisure centres.

He currently battles early morning traffic to make the busy commute from just outside Carrickfergus. His focus now is on the months ahead and the future of the Foyle Arena.

“Obviously there were things early on we decided we were going to do and we’ve had to review it,” he said. “I’ve worked a long time with studio timetables and I know that’s something that needs to change on a regular basis seasonally, for example in September for families going back to school are trying to establish routines.

“The feedback on the gym has been good but we are not even close to where it will be in September when we really look to launch our class timetable and a number of other activities.”

More info on www.foylearena.com