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Keep Southwark Safe

Leisure and sport update - coronavirus

Southwark has started a phased return for outdoor and indoor sport and recreation. Outdoor sport facilities, including football pitches, park-based tennis courts and fishing facilities re-opened from 29 March 2021 with restrictions. We'll work to make other activities available safely, in line with government guidelines.
Following the government guidelines regarding the re-opening of leisure centres, we've been working with Everyone Active, which manages the council’s leisure centres, to ensure this can be done safely. We're pleased to confirm that all of our leisure centres re-opened on 12 April 2021. Group fitness, children’s soft play and sauna/steam rooms will be re-introduced as a second phase from 17 May 2021. It's still important that everyone follows guidance about social distancing, in order to enjoy these spaces sensibly and safely. Find more information on plans to re-open your local leisure centre 

Parks exercise licence

Government advice and support for businesses

If you wish to use one of our parks for personal training or to run fitness sessions on a commercial basis, you must be licensed.

We issue licences to sports clubs and businesses that charge their customers. These licences permit the use of park space to run organised activities which allow us to regulate use and maintain safety.

Once you've acquired a parks exercise licence, you can post your classes for free using Open sessions.

Classes must not take place in playgrounds or other areas of the park which are purposed for other activities such as the bandstand in Southwark Park.

We issue these licences because:

  • all visitors should have access to and use of public open spaces
  • we must protect public parks for everyone to enjoy and benefit from various forms of fitness training in public spaces
  • fitness operators must have appropriate qualifications (based on industry best practice)
  • fitness operators must be fully insured and hold liability for participants' safety
  • we must manage the high demand for fitness providers wishing to use Southwark's parks

View our code of conduct (pdf, 90kb) and terms and conditions (pdf, 124kb) for more details.

Applying for a licence

Apply for a parks exercise licence online 

When filling out the online form, you'll need:

  • park details
  • proposed dates & times
  • to upload relevant documents (eg qualifications, first aid certificate etc)
  • proof of insurance
  • completed risk assessments for your activity

Applications must be submitted at least 20 working days before the intended start date. All start dates are granted as the first day of the corresponding month in which the applications are submitted.

 There's a high demand for fitness providers using our parks and not all applications will be approved


Our fees change monthly or annually. Businesses who charge their customers should take note of these changing fees.

Our new parks exercise licence fees (pdf, 78kb) will be introduced in April 2021.

If your fitness activities are free to customers, we can provide a free licence.  

If you're experiencing issues applying for a licence or if you have any questions, email us.

Page last updated: 10 May 2021

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