Supplementary memorandum from Manchester
Victoria Baths Trust
1. In your oral evidence, you mentioned
that schools had written to your campaigns about the difficulties
of providing transport to pools for lessons for children, could
you provide examples of these letters?
2. Carolyn Clark mentioned that she knew
of schools who had taken swimming off the curriculum, could you
3. What alternative financial support
to public sector funding have the campaigns explored, and how
might revenue funding for the pools in question be maintained?
Regarding the three additional questions which
you have asked. The following is our answer in the time available.
1. I'm afraid we don't have letters to hand
from schools. However we are all confident in stating that transport
charges (and the time involved) are a big factor in whether and
how frequently schools swim.
2. HackneySwimming in Shoreditch
Schools since closure of Haggerston Baths. On closure eight local
schools removed swimming from the curriculum. Reasons included:
Cost of arranging transport to other
pools as too far to walk
No space at other pools as absorbing
Five schools no longer have any swimming at
all (a further one could not be contacted to check current status),
one has half the sessions they had when Haggerston Baths open,
two have only just got sessions available to re-introduce, and
one has considerable additional cost to travel to Leyton.
1. Haggerston Girls' Secondary School with 900
pupils: no swimming since the closure. Annual swimming gala no
2. London Fields Primary School: no swimming.
3. St Monica's Primary: re-introduced swimming
in September 2001at Britannia.
4. William Patten Primary: no swimming.
5. St Mary's Primary School: no swimming.
6. Randal Cremer Primary use the Britannia, 25
minutes walk away which presents problems.
7. Holmleigh Primary School: no swimming.
8. Laburnum Primary School: use Britannia.
9. St John: have to go by bus to Leyton (about
four miles away).
10. Whitmore Primary School: recently introduced
swimming, but half the sessions and have to rotate classes who
get the facility term by term.
11. Burbage Primary School: could not be contacted
in time for this note.
Laburnum Boat Club now incurring additional
costs of £2,000 per annum It can ill afford to bus children
for water safety training in Kings Hall Pool.
In SohoAll Souls and Soley St and Soho
Parish schools have cut their swimming provision by 50 per cent
since Marshall St closed.
Victoria Baths in Manchester was the centre
of competitive swimming in Manchester from 1906 to 1993. There
was a very active Schools Swimming Association. With the cutback
in school swimming in the 1980s and the closure of Victoria Baths
in 1993, the association became inactive. Very few schools now
hold galas. As a result the trophies that used to be awarded became
redundant. There are now 14 big beautiful silver trophies collecting
dust in Manchester. They used to be awarded every year to individuals
or schools for various swimming achievements. They are poignant
evidence of the collapse of school swimming in Manchester.
Haggerston have looked at a range of funding
sources as shown in their Business Plan (already submitted) and
the proposal from Levitt Bernstein (already submitted).
Friends of Marshall St have suggested that Westminster
Council contract Aquaterra to run Marshall St Pool. Aquaterra
are a not-for-profit company. Westminster Council said they were
unsuitable because they run pools for Labour authorities! Proposals
for re-development of Marshall St have included private investment.
Victoria Baths have investigated a wide range
of funding sources. In response to one of the members questions
on this I would like to respond as follows:
The proposals to redevelop Victoria Baths, Haggeston
and Govanhill Pools as health living centres will have very wide-ranging
benefits in areas of very high need. It is not difficult to identify
potential capital funding sources. Our original business plan
for Victoria Baths identified fifteen possible sources of capital
funding. However we cannot access these sources until and unless
we have a project which balances revenue with projected expenditure.
Given the poor relationship we have with our local authorities
this is a real problem. Despite the massive potential social benefit,
Hackney and Glasgow will not even give support in principle, and
none of the councils will pledge revenue support, although they
were providing this in the past. We would like the committee to
consider this problem. It seems that in projects with multiple
benefits (sport, leisure, health, regeneration, economic) everyone
wants to pass the buck when it comes to revenue support. And when
inner city councils are hard pressed to meet the cost of education
and social services, promoting wider participation in swimming
can seem like a luxury, even though it has a lot of positive "knock-on"
Victoria Baths has also put considerable effort
into attracting private sector finance, but to no avail. It would
appear that our pools (ie Victoria Baths, Haggerston and Govanhill)
are not in wealthy enough areas for private companies to take
an interest. We don't rule this out for the future, but it seems
unlikely to help at the present time.
I hope this information is useful and look forward
to reading the Committee's conclusions in due course.
6 December 2001