‘Saving our sports centre is like an Olympic sport’

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.

Protesters at the potential site of the new school earlier this year

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.

south leeds sports centre olympic torch
Two ‘Olympic Torch’ carriers prepare for the off

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.

4 Replies to “‘Saving our sports centre is like an Olympic sport’”

  1. The council has let south Leeds down. I used the sports centre every Sunday to go swimming with my 4 year old son. He loved it. Now we struggle to make it a weekly event, even monthly, and the overcrowding in swimming pools locally due to the limited options ruins somewhat the enjoyment.

  2. The council should be ashamed of itself for letting SLSC get into its present state. the people of South Leeds need to get together to get it reopened. A Community Right to Bid should be submitted so that the local people can run it for themselves. This can only happen if people come forward with offers of support – where are you? Get in touch with Phil Gleeson and let him know.

  3. I miss South Leeds Sports Centre and would like to see it re-opened but because of the new primary school plans it seems we are defeated really (divide and rule tactics). I do hope they incorporate new sporting facilities for the community in the new school.
    We really need to improve the access to John Charles regardless of what happens with South Leeds Sports Centre. There is no frequent daily bus service from Beeston. It is a long lonely walk to the stadium from Dewsbury Road. Imagine doing that on a winter evening! So the Council/Metro need to be approached about improving access.
    The ice skating at Elland Road is an exciting prospect. This is supported by Leeds City Council. It is a pity a pool couldn’t be included in the Elland Road plans. A pool with a slide and a wave machine would be fab. Why does Leeds have no fun pool?
    I notice budget gyms are gaining in popularity. Budget gym chains are offering much cheaper membership than the price of the monthly bodyline card. They don’t have pools unfortunately but if we attracted one of these to the centre of Beeston it would help keep some members of the community fit and healthy.

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