Pool Closures Could Affect Generations Of Youngsters

Protestors say children’s health and well being is at risk following South Wales pool closures.

All paddling pools and three indoor pools in the borough of Rhondda Cynon Taf in South Wales could close as part of cost-cutting measures by the local council.
Concerns have been raised that the pool closures would seriously hinder the development of young swimmers for generations to come.
Coaches and concerned parents at several popular swimming clubs, claim that children’s health and wellbeing could be at risk should Rhondda Cynon Taf council decide to shut such facilities.
Under the cost-cutting measures, all paddling pools which are used in the six-week summer holiday period are facing the axe in a bid to save an estimated £181,000.
Andrew Draper, the chairman of Rhondda Swimming Club, says he has a waiting list of children eager to take up the sport. He says: “The Welsh Government has set a target for all 11-year-olds to be swimming by 2020. If you take away provisions then that target is harder to reach.”
Andrew adds: “Our focus is on long-term athlete development – it’s about a swimming journey. All athletes need to start somewhere, and that tends to be their local paddling pool or swimming pool. They learn early on, progress into competitions, and then, for a select few, the sky’s the limit.
“If that progression isn’t there, it will affect the progression of young swimmers for generations.”
Rhondda Cynon Taf council say there is no statutory requirement to provide leisure facilities. County Borough Councillor Paul Cannon QPM, Deputy Leader of the Council said: “There is no escape from tough decisions in this difficult financial climate, but it must be remembered that even with these potential changes these services would still compare favourably across Wales.”