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Help save the jobs of our Private Swimming Teachers

This petition had 1,931 supporters


Members of the public are also on the verge of losing a valuable service. You may already be aware that Belfast Private Swimming Teachers are on the verge of losing their private businesses providing private swimming lessons to the public.

Fully qualified, trained and professional swimming teachers, with over 250 years experience between them, currently provide swimming lessons to members of the public who want to learn how to swim properly. These lessons are provided by the swimming teachers on their own time, paying Belfast City Council a monthly fee for the use of the Belfast leisure centre pools. Customers book and pay for the swimming lessons directly with swimming teachers. This facility allows significant flexibility as the customers can book directly with their preferred swimming teacher at a mutually suitable and convenient date and time each week.

On 1 January 2015, the Belfast City Council passed the management of Belfast Leisure Centres to GLL. GLL propose to start their own swimming programme in May 2015. Whilst the details of how bookings will work have yet to be agreed, it may be unlikely that the customer will be able to select the same swimming teacher each week. Rather a swimming teacher may be assigned to the customer by GLL. GLLs swimming programme will then be the only method for customers to book swimming lessons.

Anyone who has learnt how to swim will understand the need to ensure consistency with the same swimming teacher. The pupil builds up a rapport and confidence in the swimming teacher which is extremely important particularly for children and adults with a disability or for pupils who have a fear of the water. The following stories highlight this:-

HOLLY'S STORY:
Holly is a 7 year old girl with brittle bones disease. She has been swimming with her current teacher since she was 3 years old. At that time, he was the only swimming teacher who would take on a 3 year old. Holly's condition means that her bones are really fragile and as a result, she finds it really difficult to trust people for fear that they may unintentionally hurt her.

It took Holly a long time to build up a rapport and confidence with her swimming teacher but he has now become her best friend. Swimming is the only safe activity that Holly can take part in. It has helped her rehabilitation after multiple fractures over years. To take away this facility would have an immediate and significant impact on her health as swimming helps to keep Holly's muscles strong. To take away this facility is to take away Holly's only enjoyment in life. To take away this facility is to take away Holly's best friend.

 

JENNIFER'S STORY:
Jennifer was diagnosed in 2013 with type 2 diabetes. She was grossly overweight and was faced with the prospect of taking tablets and insulin for the rest of her life. She decided to do something about her condition before it was too late.

She joined the local leisure centre in August 2013 and the only activity she could do was swim but she swam badly and was petrified of putting her face in the water. The hospital dietician told Jennifer that the front crawl was the best form of swimming to help burn calories. Jennifer engaged with a local swimming teacher so she could learn how to swim properly. The encouragement, support and motivation provided by her swimming teacher proved instrumental in her journey to a healthy lifestyle.

At a routine hospital appointment in April 2014, the dietitian told Jennifer she could no longer see her. You see Jennifer's swimming teacher had motivated and inspired her so much, that she had lost 6.5 stone. She had also reversed her diabetes. To take away this facility is to take away Jennifer's right to a healthy lifestyle.

Customers value and continue to support the first class service and wish for the facility to continue indefinitely and after December 2015. Customers wish to have the right to choose which system they use to book their private swimming lessons, I.e through the current system booking directly with their preferred swimming teacher, or through the new proposed GLL system.

It is proposed that both systems run in parallel, indefinitely and after December 2015. Do not take away the customer's right to choose how they book their swimming lessons. Do not take away Holly's best friend. And do not take away Jennifer's right to a healthy and diabetic free lifestyle. help save the jobs of our private swimming teacher. The public should have the right to choose who teaches them and their children to swim in a public pool.



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Gary Dolick needs your help with “Director of Parks and Leisure, Belfast City Council, Chief Executive Officer, GLL: Do not take away the customer's right to choose how they book their swimming lessons.”. Join Gary and 1,930 supporters today.