Sports centre campaigners plan ‘South Leeds Olympic Torch’ protest event

Sally Cieslik from the SPLASH campaign fighting to reopen South Leeds Sports Centre guest posts on a mock South Leeds Olympic Torch event on Sunday, April 1 at noon to highlight what they claim is a lack of sports facilities in the area. The real Olympic Torch is due to come through part of south Leeds in  June. Check out the poster for the event: Olympic run poster April 2012 final

Our South Leeds Sports Centre has tragically remained closed for over a year.

As the official Olympics approach we are planning our own South Leeds Olympic Torch (SLOT) run through South Leeds– and we’re not keeping the time and route a secret!

South Leeds Sports Centre in Beeston, before closure

Holbeck and Beeston continue to lack local facilities that a swimming pool and sports centre provide.  Places for young people to meet to keep fit and enjoy swimming and sport, leisure and fun activities, including swimming, martial arts, team games and fitness regimes are not available.

The John Charles Centre still has limited access for the disabled, water too cold for our older citizens and the very young.  Few sessions cater for the having fun and simply enjoying spending time being active with your friends and peers.

Life expectancy in South Leeds is still considerably lower than in North Leeds and a local, vibrant sports centre would go a long way to start closing the gap. 

Beeston Broncos are still unable to play home matches on their own pitch and the number of children starting their secondary education without being able to swim is extremely high.

We believe that South Leeds Sports Centre could be a big step in the right direction to address these, and many more local health and wellbeing issues, and it is a great shame that it has remained closed for so long.

The latest plan by the council seems to be that a school needs to be built on this site and if this is the case we challenge any sponsors to ensure that it serves the local communities in Beeston & Holbeck by integrating the facilities already there into their vision for educating our young people.

Getting the youngest members of our community taking part in regular sport activities and available outside school hours as well as within the school day would be a great start. It would give our young people a chance of becoming the Olympians of the future, at the moment we are unlikely to get anyone further than their own sitting room.

Please come along and support our Olympic Torch Event to highlight the situation regarding our Sports Centre.

The route starts at Domestic Street Bridge along Domestic Street, turn left at St Matthew’s Community Centre then crosses Holbeck Moor, through the underpass to the sports centre then up to Beeston Hill and left onto Tempest Road, turning left onto Dewsbury Road, down to the old library and left onto Hunslet Hall Road and back to the SLSC around 1pm.

You don’t have to run the whole route – people will be joining in and running or walking in small sections along the way too.

 For more information contact: Sally on 0788 9945345 or Steve on 07900324479.

Voice of Holbeck have also bloggedon the damage caused by travellers to the sports centre.