Just in time for the mid-term break, the council has announced that it is to provide free swimming sessions for kids at three Edinburgh pools, including Leith Victoria.
The free kids sessions at Leith Victoria will take place from Saturday 12th – Sunday 20th October at these times:
|Mondays & Tuesdays||12-4pm|
|Wednesdays & Thursdays||12-2pm|
The free holiday swimming sessions are funded until April 2015.
In addition, the council will also fund additional swimming lessons for primary two and three children in some Edinburgh schools – including, we think, Leith Primary pupils.
The money to fund the scheme was allocated by councillors in response to the Splashback campaign that fought to save Leith Waterworld.
Although councillors voted to sell-off Leith Waterworld to a private developer for £1m, they did agree to Splashback campaigners demands that money which had already been allocated towards supporting the development of a community bid for Leith Waterworld which was never released to the group, should be spent on supporting swimming for young people in the city.
Announcing the details today, Cllr Richard Lewis said: “Swimming is a fantastic activity that is not only fun but keeps you fit and healthy too. The purpose behind providing a free programme of swimming is to open up our pool facilities to those that may never have tried swimming before or to encourage parents to take their children along for a fun family swim.
“We’ve worked closely with our partners in Edinburgh Leisure and sportscotland to produce a programme that specifically targets children and adults who need support the most and also benefits the most number of people for the money available. It builds on what was proposed by Splashback and, I believe, goes even further to ensure that children from all over the city have the opportunity both to learn to swim and enjoy it at the same time.”
Needless to say, Splashback campaigners reacted somewhat incredulously to the administrations claim that they were “going further” than their original proposal. It doesn’t need pointing out that many, many people wanted Leith Waterworld kept open, and that free swim sessions in Leith Victoria does not substitute for that.
And whilst campaign volunteers welcomed the news that something positive had finally come from their hard fought campaign, they were quick to clarify their original ask on Twitter.
They said*: “Great to see Richard Lewis carve out some credit for CEC by “going even further” than our proposals to reach kids city wide. For the record: we wanted reinstatement of free swimming not just for primary kids but ALL Under 16’s at ALL pools… just like Glasgw, just like Wales.
They added that this was: “Easily affordable within £125k budget – could of lead to culture change in kids swimming in the city. Missed opportunity. Not sure how CEC initiatives “go even further” than that. Answers on a used ticket stub.”
You can read the full council press release here, full details of all free kids sessions at all the Edinburgh Leisure pools here.
*Quotes slightly altered to account for “tweet speak” so that they’re easier to read.