Campaigners Sally Cieslik and Philip Gleason are part of the SPLASH group fighting to get South Leeds Sports Centre in Beeston reopened. Here, they write about their struggle.
Saving our sports centre has become akin to an olympic sport in itself.. in fact rather like running an endless marathon.
Funny how short memories can be.. you remember that brilliant idea that won us the Olympic Bid – the legacy factor – that there would be a whole generation of us who would become mean and lean and as fit as a fiddle as we are inspired by the fantastic feats of our fellow countrymen and women achieving their and our dreams and bundles of gold medals.
Well, yes we were all inspired and swept along in the tide of euphoria that the whole experience brought with it and then ……. a few weeks of reminiscing … and then …. .. the clocks went back … and then ….. nothing..
At the very least shouldn’t we have expected support – and money – to get our local facilities going again. How many of those Olympians talked about how they’d began their road to gold at their nearest sports centre, where their family could take them and which was easy to get to, small, welcoming and accessible with opportunities to have a go at lots of sports. How many of them just happened upon the activity which ended up becoming their life’s goal?
Our local centre still remains doggedly empty and untended and uninviting, it becomes more derelict by the day. What a shame for us, what a shame on our city councillors and what a shame for the health and sporting futures of all of us who live within a javelin throw of SOUTH LEEDS SPORTS CENTRE.
Maybe what the legacy thing meant, there was to be a new Olympic sport – called saving your local sports facilities. It takes guts, determination, will power, lots of hard grind, and endless blood, sweat and tears – just like all the rest.
Ever since it closed many disabled and elderly are unable to go swimming as the centre used to have warmer water than others do, something when we take it over would happen and it would have more than 45 minutes a week for disabled swimmers and that includes getting changed, as disabled person myself I know that it takes time and effort just getting there! they need time to get changed-rest-get a swim-rest-changed back.
No centre allows this but South Leeds will.
We in South Leeds are still fighting for our centre anyone who wants to join in this new sport (which may even achieve Olympic status by 2016) please get in touch SPLASH campaigner Phil Gleeson on 07906871401.