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Reply To: Saving a community sports centre (Community Asset?)

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Mick Owen

Hi Jim
Our local sports centre tried to turn a squash court into a cross-training room. They had scaffolding erected and materials on site before the squash club explained to the lead councillor for leisure that this would mean losing a thriving kids club and would probably kill the adult squash club in time. The councillor paused the work and reviewed the “evidence” which included a user survey. The survey was given to 16 of the centre’s 1300 members, none of whom were squash players. In short, it was an attempted carve-up. The court is still there; but only because the club agitated and advocated till they got the right person to hear the truth.

I think you need to ensure your voice is heard. Do ALL the councillors know what is at stake when they take the centre out of use. You need to include arguments about the value of physical activity AND the value of social contact to the groups which use the centre. You need to contact ALL councillors with an “interest” i.e. district and county councillors responsible for public health and for leisure, ward councillors and the leaders of all political groupings.

You could try speaking to your County Sports Partnership who might have a view and some influence but I wouldn’t hold my breath and your local Age UK franchise should be able to help you with statistics on the use of physical activity to counter loneliness and isolation.

Best of luck.