A correspondent to the Edinburgh Evening News expressed the views of many this week when he said it’s possible that Leith Waterword, the best kids’ pool in Scotland, was closed and notes that funds ‘saved’ will be diverted to the Commonwealth Pool.
But closing one sporting facility to fund the upgrading of another must always be a last resort.
It’s also important that we have genuinely local access to such facilities, as bus fares and entry fees are another barrier to be overcome by those on low incomes.
Recognising the many benefits the pool brings, ‘Splashback’, a determined group of local people, are currently investigating management models that will allow them to re-open Leith Waterworld.
The Overweight, Obesity and Activity Report from the Growing up in Scotland study was published last month.
The report found that poor access to local leisure facilities, such as swimming pools, was associated with low physical activity and sedentary behaviour.
Many of the risk factors for young children being overweight and having low activity levels are modifiable – that is, they can be changed – we can target interventions.
It makes no sense to close facilities like Leith Waterworld when we have this evidence of their importance in protecting the health of our children.