Supplementary memorandum submitted by
Mr Savio D'Souza, Govanhill Pool, Glasgow
May I first of all thank the Committee for inviting
Historic pools such as Govanhill to give evidence for "The
Sport of Swimming". I am pleased that it has enlightened
the Committee to the crisis in swimming. Regarding further submissions,
I think that it is important that clarification is made about
some of the evidence given at the hearing.
1. An MP on the panel was right to state
that I have not been in Govanhill very long. This should not detract
from the written evidence, which are the facts provided by many
sources including Sport Scotland, Glasgow City Council, local
residents and pool users. I am committed to ensuring that Govanhill
remains a viable community.
2. I have tried to seek further clarification
from Glasgow City Council regarding how the ethnic needs have
been addressed with the closure of the pool. To date I have not
been able to obtain a reply on this matter, nor has any alternative
been advertised to local community leaders of alternative arrangements.
3. Regarding community consultation. The
Council has abolished the local community councils, which was
the only forum available to discuss the needs of the local community.
A feasibility questionnaire was delivered to selected homes in
the area. The questionnaire did not give local residents the opportunity
to state that they wish to retain the existing three pools and
find alternative ways of funding the pool. The Council has now
admitted that the distribution of the questionnaire was not acceptable
and a second distribution is being considered.
4. The local Councillor for Govanhill did
not inform the Finance Committee directly of his opposition to
the pool closure but to his local party. This meant that there
was no community representation at the crucial meeting that approved
5. Following many years of under-investment
there is a huge backlog of work that would need to be done to
address the issue. It is clear that funding from the Lottery,
Central and Local Government with other competing concerns is
unlikely to be sufficient. It is Government policy, as I understand,
to encourage local input to solving local problems. Local and
Central Government support and resources for local community initiatives
to save local amenities are important. It means that local residents
and businesses are more likely to support genuine campaigns. In
terms of fund raising from sources other than public we have written
to over 75 companies and have about 30 replies that are being
followed up. However without a framework partnership with the
local council progress is slow. In the case of Manchester Victoria
Baths it was several years before meaningful dialogue could be
engaged with the local authority. In Govanhill we want to prevent
similar water penetration damage occurring increasing the fund-raising
6. Regarding school curriculum have only
been able to establish in the 24-hour notice period given of Hollybrook
House, Special Needs School, 135 Holybrook Street, Glasgow, G42.
They used to use the Govanhill Pool twice a week on Monday and
Friday. At the new pool in the Gorbais, this school has lost half
of their time slots and requires additional travelling time.
7. Regarding transport difficulties, Glasgow
City Council did provide a free bus service to the new pool built
on an area with a history of subsidence for the first ten days.
There are no direct bus services to the new pools from Govanhill.
I understand that a bus route that did pass close has now been
re-routed. The Swimming groups have suffered the most with the
transport difficulties. The Kingston Swimming Club did not have
the funds to provide transport to the new allocated pool on the
outskirts of the city. Glasgow City Council did initially offer
assistance around the time of closure, however no transport funding
has been made since the closure. As a result only half the number
of children from Govanhill are continuing to take part in the
6 December 2001