South Leeds Sports Centre should be our Olympic Gold – open letter

Below is an open letter to Keith Wakefield and local South Leeds councillors that has been sent by Sally Cieslik on behalf of SPLASH (Save our PooL And Sports Hall):

South Leeds Sports Centre should be our Olympic Gold.   

Olympic medal and torch fever that has reigned over us all in Leeds since the end of June right up to the celebration for our medalists in Millennium Square.  Now is the time for our local councillors and city leaders to act as courageously and with the absolute determination shown by all our athletes, and reverse the decline of South Leeds Sports Centre. 

All our city fathers (and mothers) were conspicuously visible when the torch passed through town, and when the Olympians returned.  They were happy to highlight the positives of the event as the torch passed right through the heart of our community.  In the meantime, just around the corner, our Sports Centre lay neglected and disowned. 

Our centre should never have been allowed to close and decay. There are budding Olympians on our doorstep, there are those who just want to keep fit and healthy, those who want their kids to be doing something other than hanging around the streets, those who know that doing exercise will make them feel more positive, those who just want to have fun with their friends and family.

Sports centres like ours are not about making money or even breaking even.  They are about improving the lives of everyone around them, bringing communities together – just like the Olympics have brought the country and our city together.  Just because the benefits are difficult to write into the city accountant’s spreadsheets doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try.  If you want to talk in terms of money then savings will come.  There will be fewer people in our hospitals, mental health clinics, doctor’s surgeries, law courts and police stations.  The Centre’s remit is to serve the local community, its about being somewhere we can get together to get fit and play sport together. That way we can meet up, get to know each other better.   

We don’t have a gold letter box in South Leeds.. in fact let’s not argue about the whereabouts of letterboxes, lets argue about what we can do to bring South Leeds Sports Centre back to life and let it become the hub for sporting and leisure activities for all residents of Beeston and Holbeck. That should be the real legacy of the Games.

So Councillors take a leaf out of our Olympians book – be determined, be inspirational, be brave, be innovative, be winners!  Re-open South Leeds Sports Centre – its never too late! 

Sally Cieslik

SPLASH! – Campaigning for the re-opening of South Leeds Sports Centre


It will be interesting to see the response, if any, from our local politicians.