The government has announced today that it is going to provide free swimming for all by 2012. According to the BBC website:
England’s swimming pools could be free by the time of the London 2012 Olympics, the government has signalled.
Over-60s are to be given free admission to public swimming pools in an ?80m first stage of the initiative.
The move will be outlined by Gordon Brown as part of a bid to encourage greater participation in sport ahead of the Games.
Sport minister Andy Burnham indicated future funding would allow free entry to under-16s, then to everyone by 2012.
Jackie Dillnutt has asked the District Council today how much it would cost to build a pool in Rayleigh.
“It’s about time we had a proper pool for Rayleigh and if the government is going to provide funding for swimming this seems a very good opportunity. Obviously there are plenty of obstacles to overcome – especially car parking – but this is something that the Council should be aiming for.”
Great stuff, Jackie.
If private enterprise can do it – Swimming Tales for example – them the council should be able to.
Perhaps you could flood the bowls green in the Rayleigh Leisure Centre – the space looks ideal LOL!!
It’s a pity that a swimming pool was not included in the Rayleigh Leisure Centre. Does anyone know why this is?
If the District Council could have negotiated a better deal with the County Council over the sale of the Park School site, we would have got one.
Most things do end up boiling down to money if there is no political reason even then often money is the root of it.
I think that Clements Hall is rather out of the way for those that don’t drive. When I suggested at a Central Area Meeting that transport be provided so that young people and others without transport could get there. The Virgin Reps in attendance stated that it was not in their contract. They also left the meeting sharpish after that.
I think that this is the downside to contracting out rather than the council running sports facilities direct. It gives councillors less say in making changes.
Where was that Central Area Meeting, Angelina? With evening bus services being poor to none across the Central Area how can people who do not drive even get to a meeting to ask questions when the venue is only in their immediate locality for one in three meetings? The Review Committee which I was on last year recommended that the RDC Cabinet look at providing transport for the public wishing to attend – they threw it out !! Can’t see them providing transport for swimming – although many, many years ago there was a free CHLC Bus. This could have been included in that Contract as you say. But more importantly access to democracy is also limited by ability to drive and the wealth to support the owing of a car. Public transport, whoever provides it, free or not, is the key to reducing car journeys.
JACKIE, SOMETHING TO DRIVE YOUR CALL TO RDC FOR A SWIMMING POOL IN RAYLEIGH AND A POSSIBLE ACCESS TO FUNDING. “Many councils have already struck deals with Sport England with new Local Area Agreements”. HAS RDC?
Free swimming to bring huge health benefits
LGA press release 6 June 2008
In response to the Government announcement on free swimming, Cllr Chris White, Local Government Association spokesperson on sport, said:
“Free swimming for elderly people, as part of a longer term goal of free swimming for all by 2012, is a positive move that brings real health benefits and increases the opportunity for elderly people to take part in local activities. Councils support proposals that help to improve the health and get older people active. Councils will work with the government to put in place a workable system for distributing the limited two-year funding announced today in a way that will make a real difference to participation in physical activity.
“We look forward to working with the government about ways to fund the cost of meeting the Secretary of State’s wider ambitions for free swimming for all by 2012 in a way that works in practice and increases participation.
“Many councils – around a quarter of the total – already provide free swimming, whether for over 60s, young people or for everyone in the local area. Overall councils spend £1.2bn a year on providing opportunities for people to play sport and get involved in physical activity and invest £450m annually in improving sports facilities. Of course, the government’s extra contribution is a welcome addition.
“Councils, who are the biggest investor in sport, will continue to work very closely with a refocused Sport England in improving sporting activities for local people. Many councils have already struck deals with Sport England with new Local Area Agreements and we are confident of the renewed commitments to make a success of improving sporting participation in this way.”
Author: LGA Media Office
Contact: Kallon Basham, 0207 664 3332
Just to add some support to the need for a pool in Rayleigh, we took our two children to Clements Hall this morning to swim, we arrived at 9.30, and eventually got into the pool at just gone 10am. The childrens pool is so popular that they have to restrict numbers, they work on a band system to calculate numbers in the pool, so basically if all the bands are issued you have to wait in reception until someone leaves the pool, if only two people leave and you have a family of four, you have to hang on until another two people leave, the bands are issued to both adults and children, a problem occurs when people hang onto the bands until the have changed, this means ten to fifteen minutes when bands are issued but bodies are not in the pool, I thought maybe we were just unlucky today, but speaking to a dad with his son he advised it is the same every weekend, with an average 30 to 40 minute wait (the staff tell you 10) how crazy is it that you want to keep you children fit and healthy, and interested in sport, yet you can’t get into your local public pool, instead you sit on a sofa in reception for 30 mins which you could do at home. Somebody needs to take a long hard look at what families in Rayleigh need and want, we sat with four other parents and six other children, madness, and somebody also needs to devise a better system of head counting at the pool to eliminate the long wait. (when we left at 11.30 people were still waiting to be let in, we were told that to avoid waiting you must be at the pool before 9.30, the dad I spoke to got there at 9.15, so that doesn’t work either)
John, It was at the last Hawkwell meeting.
Thanks for the information John. If we want to do something significant to encourage healthy lifstyles this could be a major step in the right direction and with the London Olympics in just four years the timing could not be better.
Thanks also to Downhall Resident for your comments – the situation is hardly likely to improve given the number of new houses that are planned for the District.
I believe that the Swimming Tales pool (at Lubbards Farm) is open to everyone, although as it has been specifically built for teaching kids it is not particularly deep, not very long, and most of the time is set aside for lessons.
My two kids go there for swimming lessons, but I have taken them there for a swim at the weekend. My kids are members due to their swimming lessons. I could pay a membership fee, but it only offers an extra £1 off the price of a swim so haven’t bothered.
I think a proper “public” baths would be better, particularly if the times for free public swims was more flexible, but I do wonder if it would affect the viability of Swimming Tales as a business.
Personally, I quite like the idea of an open air Lido, but it may not be too appealing outside of the summer months.
Is Runneymede pool any closer than Clements Hall for Rayleigh residents?
An open air pool would be great in the summer however, it would be a shame if it can’t be used all year round.
Looking at the pool timetable for Clements Hall, can you explain why there is swimming time for ladies only and swim in retirement. Doesn’t this discriminate against men under 60?
If swimming is going to be free for all, shouldn’t the pool be available for all as well?
That swim in retirement thing annoys me as well. Can’t they move it fto 3pm-4pm?