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Thread: Free Swimming

  1. #1
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    Default Free Swimming

    Just read this on the BBC news Website: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/7439182.stm

    I have no objection to this, as I enjoy swimming myself. The reason for bringing this up was for two reasons:

    1) Somebody is going to have to cover the costs. This could be the taxpayer, or the clubs that use said pools. The latter could affect grass-roots canoeing, as it was the Scouts using the local council pool that got me started in the first place. As costs go up, less people may be able to start.

    2) The report states that "But unlike other sports, swimming has a barrier in its way and it's called an entry charge". I would have thought that we have a bigger barrier, in that we have no access to water!!

    As stated, this will benefit me anyway as I enjoy swimming. It just seems silly that a cheaper alternative exists (i.e. legislation change) if the only aim is to get more people actively interested in sports (not neccesarily swimming).

    Don't know if anybody else has an opinion.

    Carl

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    Quote Originally Posted by CSpeltinckx View Post
    Somebody is going to have to cover the costs. This could be the taxpayer, or the clubs that use said pools.
    What extra costs? The pool and the staff are already there! If on average the pool has 20 people in it and in future it will have 25 it still costs the same to provide and staff the facilities etc.

    There will only be a financial penalty to the operators if some over 50's who would have paid now go free, some under 50's who would have paid are now put off by the acres of wrinkly flesh or fixtures and fittings are damaged by the hoards of senile delinquents. And if occasionally the wrinklies take their grandchildren with them then any modest costs/penalties are instantly recouped.

    If as a result of this and similar initiatives the health of the nation is even slightly improved the savings to the National Heath Service can be shared out amongst tax payers.

    Now if the government wanted to give access to the waterways (and/or free BCU membership) as well ........
    Keith

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    I think it's ludicrous. Why should swimming pools be "free to everyone"? Fair enough if all other sports are free, but they're not - you have to pay to go to a gym, to use a squash or tennis court etc etc etc. And you can swim for free anyway. You want facilities to make it more comfortable, you pay for them.
    'Of all the paths you choose in life, make sure some of them are wet'

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    Quote Originally Posted by Amelia View Post
    I think it's ludicrous. Why should swimming pools be "free to everyone"? Fair enough if all other sports are free, but they're not - you have to pay to go to a gym, to use a squash or tennis court etc etc etc. And you can swim for free anyway. You want facilities to make it more comfortable, you pay for them.

    Poppycock - It's a start along the right path. How many OAP's do you see hurtling around a squash court or pumping iron at the gym?.........swimming is an exercise which all ages can undertake and if it helps improve health, finacial and social aspects for this group then I am all for it

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    Quote Originally Posted by KeithD View Post
    What extra costs? The pool and the staff are already there! If on average the pool has 20 people in it and in future it will have 25 it still costs the same to provide and staff the facilities etc.
    Sorry, didn't explain myself properly (as usual!). Yes it does still cost the same, only this time, the pool operators won't be gaining any direct revenue from those swimmers (once free for everyone). Therefore, someone will need to cough up to cover those costs.

    Thinking about it a bit more, there are other ways in which they can claim back lost revenue - higher charges for food/drink, non-refundable locker deposits etc (although I am seeing more of the latter now anyway).

    I think Amelia has it right. All free, or none free (with the usual concessionary rates for the elderly etc).

    Carl

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sprout View Post
    Poppycock - It's a start along the right path. How many OAP's do you see hurtling around a squash court or pumping iron at the gym?.........swimming is an exercise which all ages can undertake and if it helps improve health, finacial and social aspects for this group then I am all for it
    I never said I had a problem with free swimming for OAPs (or under 16s for that matter). If you look at the article they're plan for free swimming for everyone.
    'Of all the paths you choose in life, make sure some of them are wet'

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    Fantastic........... even better news, that will make it "affordable" and beneficial for everyone.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sprout View Post
    Fantastic........... even better news, that will make it "affordable" and beneficial for everyone.
    Nope, it means every tax payer will end up paying for facilities many of them don't want to use. Why should I pay so some well paid people can go swimming, yet their tax money doesn't contribute towards me going canoeing?
    'Of all the paths you choose in life, make sure some of them are wet'

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    Swings and roundabouts Amelia, swings and roundabouts

    Life does not revolve around canoeing [though it does seem to be taking up a lot of my time too. ]

    I don’t live by the doctrine of ‘what do I get out of it’ ……….I can see the over arching benefit of this and you never know, it may lead on to other good initiatives.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sprout View Post
    Swings and roundabouts Amelia, swings and roundabouts

    Life does not revolve around canoeing [though it does seem to be taking up a lot of my time too. ]

    I don’t live by the doctrine of ‘what do I get out of it’ ……….I can see the over arching benefit of this and you never know, it may lead on to other good initiatives.
    The thing is that it's really just a sham - it looks like its free, but all it does it shift it from the users paying directly to the taxpayers paying indirectly. I don't see that as a good thing. I understand that my tax money pays for the disabled or the disadvantaged etc to do certain things and have certain benefits. But I don't see why it should go towards a particular "interest" group - swimming is just a leisure activity after all.
    'Of all the paths you choose in life, make sure some of them are wet'

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    Quote Originally Posted by Amelia View Post
    If you look at the article they're plan for free swimming for everyone.
    Ooops I'm guilty of not reading the article. I thought I knew what it said and didn't bother.

    Of course it shouldn't be free for everyone! Just me and a few others!
    Keith

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    Quote Originally Posted by KeithD View Post
    Of course it shouldn't be free for everyone! Just me and a few others!
    That's the spirit
    'Of all the paths you choose in life, make sure some of them are wet'

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    Quote Originally Posted by Amelia View Post
    Nope, it means every tax payer will end up paying for facilities many of them don't want to use. Why should I pay so some well paid people can go swimming, yet their tax money doesn't contribute towards me going canoeing?
    I think its great that for once everyone will have the chance to do something for free. Without getting into the realms of politics I think you might find that well paid people pay more tax. Everytime I go out canoeing I use public highways and use public facilities and my club is subsidised with public money.
    Last edited by Mitch; 6th-June-2008 at 04:19 PM. Reason: amend
    Mitch

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    To be honest its a tiny amount of money compared to the amount of our hard earned thats spent on crp and wasted by inefficient government departments. Swimming is an essential life skill and I'm all for encouraging it and excersise in general in everyone, especially the young. Stop kids hanging around in gangs outside the sports centre's and get them doing something useful.


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    i like the idea of wild swimmers then we can keep arunning count of how many we paddle over
    mind you on thinking about it weve all been wild swimming at some point usually not by choice
    nature is m X-box

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    Quote Originally Posted by Amelia View Post
    I think it's ludicrous. Why should swimming pools be "free to everyone"? Fair enough if all other sports are free, but they're not - you have to pay to go to a gym, to use a squash or tennis court etc etc etc. And you can swim for free anyway. You want facilities to make it more comfortable, you pay for them.
    I just wondered if you also objected to paying for Statins and all those other very expensive heart & cholestral contolling drugs provided by the NHS that are given to people who had they done a bit of moderate exercise (like swimming!) earlier in life may not now be in that position?

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    And that's exactly the point of it ...

    Very generally, the cost to the taxpayer, of a hospital stay is currently around £2300 per patient, per week.

    If you divert taxation revenue to facilitate an activity that promotes not only a measure of fitness, but also social interaction, and general well being, and that in turn cuts down people going into hospital then the cost of providing that facility is quickly and easily offset against far greater savings elsewhere.

    That might sound idealistic, but across the country this scheme would show that it could 'pay' for itself in no time at all (or it wouldn't be happening). The cost of provisioning a pool is only going to reach a certain point and then go no further, as you simply can't get anymore people in, and at that point you get the maximum value from it.

    It's not really political, it's certainly not party politics, it's really only about good governance.
    Last edited by monkey_pork; 6th-June-2008 at 09:29 PM.

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    I'm all for greater access to swimming pools. However, I don't see why they have to free. Yes they can be a public amenity but why not charge people for using them. There are plenty that either can't use them for many reasons. And there are plenty, that do not want to use them, probably also for numerous reasons. I don't just don't see why they need to be free.

    TGB
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    I have some sympathy with both camps on this one, I think providing a basic healthy or constructive activity like swimming thats free at point of use - [nothing's free] is a good idea, we do after all consider libraries to be good for the state of the nation, but I wouldn't extend that principle to many things. Sadly the reality is that providing free swimming will not make the nation healthier as there is no uptake for anything that involves effort. If however the government launched a " free pies, fags and lager " campaign, you would find it very popular.

    Mike
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    Currently it costs the elderly £30 per day to attend a day centre for a small amount of social interaction and to give carers a break.

    I would rather see folk maintaining health and developing social networks through swimming than being forced to use health services.

    Ameila not everyone has your level of disposable income. The costs of healthy leisure activities for many is prohibitive. Anything that has an impact on obesity and heart disease etc has to be a benefit to society in general. Less long term invalidity benefit, less impact on the NHS and fewer days lost to employers from sickness.

    OK many people in the target populations will be unlikely to take part and most people taking advantage of the new scheme will be the worried well and the middle classes. Is that a reason to stop trying to improve our nations health.

    Preventive medicine is much cheaper that expensive medical intervention.

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    Quote Originally Posted by wayne View Post
    Ameila not everyone has your level of disposable income. The costs of healthy leisure activities for many is prohibitive. Anything that has an impact on obesity and heart disease etc has to be a benefit to society in general. Less long term invalidity benefit, less impact on the NHS and fewer days lost to employers from sickness.

    OK many people in the target populations will be unlikely to take part and most people taking advantage of the new scheme will be the worried well and the middle classes. Is that a reason to stop trying to improve our nations health.

    Preventive medicine is much cheaper that expensive medical intervention.
    I have no problem with the elderly, the young, or lower waged being able to swim for "free". The thing to keep in mind is that the operation and maintenance of swimming pools incurs a cost that must be paid for somewhere, and that somewhere will be through taxes.

    I fully understand that society functions by the better waged supporting people who need it. The reason I have a problem with this new initiative is that it is making swimming free for all. I would much rather see swimming being free for the young, the elderly, people on benefits, and people who fall below the lowest income tax threshold. Everyone else can pay for swimming if they want to go swimming, in the same way that they can pay for other pastimes if they want to take part in them. It's not like swimming is the only form of exercise out there.

    If the government really want to go further, I would rather see my tax money being put towards ensuring every child is able to swim by the time they leave primary school, and whilst at secondary school has tried a number of different healthy activities and sports beyond football, netball, hockey etc which aren't the kind of activities many people will keep playing in their adult life. I'd prefer to see more kids going hiking or climbing or sailing or caving or canoeing than more middle class people going for a swim. Or see the elderly having more opportunities to keep their minds and bodies active.

    Let's get real, offering free swimming to all is not going to make any real impact on future health issues. I believe most people who wouldn't qualify for free swimming under the way I would like to see it are unlikely to take up swimming on a regular enough basis to make a difference just because they no longer have to pay for it. The initiative is just a placebo whilst the government shy away from actually trying to deal with the problem. The reasons behind the dwindling health of our nation are far more complex than free access to swimming pools.
    'Of all the paths you choose in life, make sure some of them are wet'

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    I think perhaps i am just an old grouch on this subject.

    When I go to the chemist to pick up my prescription for a pill I need every day they say ''Do you pay for your prescriptions?'' I answer, ''Yes, I pay for everything''. Now I know this is not as simple as that but I pay my taxes and they get shared out amongst the needy. Sometimes I actually benefit, education, road and stuff.

    But you know what, I don't want to pay for someone else to go swimming. I don't want to pay for pensioners' bus passes, people who may have more disposable income than me get a ticket for free travel which I subsidise because they no longer pay tax.

    Why do the powers that be single out just a few activities which will be provided free of cost to select groups (yes I know it is supposed to swimming for everyone)? Why not endeavour to make sure everyone gets a reasonable income and let them spend it how they wish?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Amelia View Post
    ...I'd prefer to see more kids going hiking or climbing or sailing or caving or canoeing than more middle class people going for a swim...
    So you have something against the middle class?

    Quote Originally Posted by Adrian Cooper View Post
    I think perhaps i am just an old grouch on this subject.

    When I go to the chemist to pick up my prescription for a pill I need every day they say ''Do you pay for your prescriptions?'' I answer, ''Yes, I pay for everything''. Now I know this is not as simple as that but I pay my taxes and they get shared out amongst the needy. Sometimes I actually benefit, education, road and stuff.

    But you know what, I don't want to pay for someone else to go swimming. I don't want to pay for pensioners' bus passes, people who may have more disposable income than me get a ticket for free travel which I subsidise because they no longer pay tax.

    Why do the powers that be single out just a few activities which will be provided free of cost to select groups (yes I know it is supposed to swimming for everyone)? Why not endeavour to make sure everyone gets a reasonable income and let them spend it how they wish?
    Well said.

    As with all nanny state initiatives, horse and water spring to mind. Bring back the age of responsibility for yourself.
    Chris


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    While I'm sure whoever came up with the idea had the best of intentions I think its fundamentally flawed from the outset:

    As I see it the only people who will benefit are people who already go swimming, as they will now be able to go for free.

    The notion that all of a sudden we're going to end up with a healthier nation just ain't gonna happen. If people had already wanted to go swimming they would already do so. Of course there will always be a small minority who are the exception and are enticed by the free carrot dangling.



    Now heres a radical idea if we want to improve the health of the nation - if we stop paying people to sit on their backsides maybe they would get out there and lead healthier lifestyles?

    Roly


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