Council should back our swimming talent

RE: Scarborough Swimming Club.

I HAD the pleasure of attending the presentations of medals and trophies to the children of the club. This is the culmination of a year of real hard work and dedication by all the members, the chairman Sam Greetham, committee members, coaches and parents.

It’s wonderful to see the joy as the winners accept their awards and also to see the ‘tryers’ who don’t actually win anything but keep on trying for better times, while supporting and encouraging their team mates all the time. They are all an essential part of the club and it’s great to see the camaraderie among the youngsters.

Anyone who is feeling low and suffering from the ‘January blues’ should go along to the spectators gallery on a club night or, better still, one of the nights when Scarborough is hosting a gala and several other teams come to compete. I promise you will be delighted to see the wonderful discipline and dedication of all our young swimmers who enjoy the experience of being part of something worthwhile.

In this Olympic year they are going to be taking part in their own mini Olympics where they will be swimming against four or five other countries. This will be a fantastic experience for them, especially after the disappointment of not being able to get tickets for the real thing.

All this takes a lot of time and effort on the part of all the volunteers who run the club and they do a great job.

However, all this could be in jeopardy and I urge everyone to heed the warning recently made by Sam in the excellent article by Ian Duncan.

This year the club has to find £53,000 to hire the indoor pool for the club. This is an astronomical sum and can only come from one place. Unfortunately there isn’t a money tree in the car park and already families are struggling to pay the fees. Last year, apart from the membership fee it cost £3 a session to swim. If you have more than one child in the family the costs soon start to spiral and it is important to realise that for the children who do outstandingly well with their times, they do need three sessions a week to stand any chance of reaching the Nationals.

Already they have to travel to Leeds or Sheffield at weekends for the Olympic size pools. You can see that this takes a lot of dedication from the swimmers, their parents and coaches and surely the council should be looking at ways to help all of this talent instead of just piling on these costs as an automatic given.

It is uplifting to see that the Mayor’s theme for his year in office is ‘Sport Development’. But this needs the support of the whole council and I urge you to lobby your local councillor if you care about what’s happening as we are fast approaching the situation where only better-off families can afford for their children to be part of the club. What happens to the youngsters then?

The council should be looking at ways of subsidising these clubs, not automatically passing on these extorionate costs. We all know the books have to be balanced but, without mentioned the Open Air Theatre, the Spa and the Zenith/Sands/Benchmark/Apollo Leisure fiasco and the fact that they closed down the family attractions that were at least bringing in revenue, ie Kinderland, Marvels, the open air pool, the Corner complex etc.

They could save huge sums of money by stopping the silly ritual of bringing in ‘consultants’ every time a decision has to be made. Surely they can sit round a table, talk out the facts and figures and then make a sensible decision without having to rely on consultants.

If they are not sure about anything they simply have to press a key on the computer and all the information on any subject is there in front of them. Where do they think the consultants get their information from?

It’s impossible for anyone to know everything about anything. They could use the money saved to help the local clubs who are doing a fantastic job and should be helped instead of being expected to pay the highest charges in the country.

Mrs Pamela Hart

Plaxton Court

Woodlands Drive

Scarborough