Islington: Build a competition standard community swimming pool at Holloway Prison site
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Anaconda is the only competitive swimming club in Islington. It’s a not-for-profit organisation, which provides swimming lessons to 500 children and coaches eight swimming squads with 184 young people. We make a significant contribution to the health, wellbeing and social development of young people in the borough of Islington and beyond.
We are operating at full capacity and our current infrastructure prevents us from expanding. It also significantly limits our ability to build further on the achievements of the club. Despite constraints, we have had amazing results: Islington now has the British women’s 50m freestyle champion, aged 14, and the British men’s 100m breast stroke bronze medallist, aged 16. These swimmers are our future Olympic hopefuls, with more following behind.
Our swimming lessons and squad training take place in five Islington swimming pools. Whether for teaching or coaching, the pools available to us are not fit for purpose. Our HQ at Caledonian Road pool only has six lanes (official competition requires eight), both ends are shallow which means using starting blocks is not possible, and there is also no public gallery, which limits viewing. This means we cannot host a licenced gala anywhere in Islington, or invite parents to come and watch their children learn.
Holloway Prison is a windfall site which is a once in a generation opportunity to create a swimming legacy for Islington. A new eight-lane community swimming pool, capable of hosting competitions, would make a huge contribution to the people of Islington and help support a mixed and balanced community in the Holloway area.
The case for including a swimming pool:
1. Islington swimming pools are already at capacity, particularly when it comes to non-public swimming (lessons and training).
2. Swimming is one of the most effective sports for increasing participation numbers and promoting health and wellbeing. In terms of space, it is far more efficient compared to sports like tennis or football.
3. Anaconda has a very powerful sense of community. Our swimmers build strong and lasting relationships, growing their resilience and self-esteem. A new pool would allow us to expand the number of young people we work with and look to extend this to adults, including a targeted approach with women.
4. We are all very aware of the childhood obesity epidemic and we understand Islington Council has taken considerable steps to address childhood eating habits in our future generations - being the first council to introduce free school meals and imposing planning control over the location of fast food outlets near school. Diet is just one part of the healthy living equation. Sport and the provision of community sport facilities to enable our young to participate is vital to their physical and mental well-being.
5. Islington has an extraordinarily diverse community and this facility will help locals to come together, so helping to advance Islington’s Sustainable Community Strategy.
If you live, work or study in Islington, please sign our petition and join our campaign!
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