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Stevenage Leisure (SLL), who run Tiddenfoot Leisure Centre in conjunction with Central Bedfordshire Council, are demanding to take over all Learn to Swim lessons for children up to level 5.

Linslade Crusaders Swimming Club started in 1982 to provide swimming lessons in Leighton Buzzard as there was high demand. In the last 36 years we have taught thousands of children to swim, many of whom have gone on to competitive swimming and to great success, representing the town in competitions at local, regional and national levels.

Parents currently have a choice of where to send their children for swimming lessons: at Tiddenfoot AquaEd, Linslade Crusaders Learn-to-Swim or Leighton Buzzard Swimming Club. This choice will be taken away - something we feel will be detrimental to local children, parents and the swimming clubs.

There will be fewer Learn-to-Swim places available in Leighton Buzzard if SLL takes over the Learn-to-Swim provision. SLL already have a waiting list of 120+ children who they are not able to accommodate.

Learn to Swim lessons will be more expensive. Current fees for Crusaders Learn to Swim are £12 per month. The AquaEd lessons are £22.50 per month.

Parents will lose the choice of Learn to Swim providers. Currently, parents are able to choose between the SSL AquaEd, Linslade Crusaders Swimming Club Learn to Swim and Leighton Buzzard Swimming Club lessons. If parents want their child to learn to swim, they will have to put them on the waiting list and hope that a place becomes available. SLL are seeking to have a monopoly in swimming lessons in Leighton Buzzard.

No party will benefit from the proposed changes. The parents lose choice, convenience and a lower cost option; the children potentially have to swim in more cramped conditions with the potential to hinder development; the clubs lose a natural flow through of swimmers into the competitive swimming squads, and a significant financial impact; Swim England loses potential development of swimmers; and SLL seemingly do not even meet their objective of increasing revenue.

We feel strongly that the proposed changes, and demands to bring this into effect from 1st January 2019, are not in the children’s or community’s best interest. It is for this reason that we are campaigning to retain the choice of low cost, effective swimming lessons in Leighton Buzzard. In a town where we have lakes, a canal and a river, it is vital that children should be able to learn to swim at a low cost.

Thank you for your support.

Linslade Crusaders Swimming Club

The problem can be solved by allowing the swimming clubs to retain their Learn-to-Swim classes, thereby giving parents a choice of where they send their child for swimming lessons.

Personal story
We are Linslade Crusaders Swimming Club. We have run Learn-to-Swim and competitive swimming in the town since 1982. We're a not-for-profit club, run by volunteers, most of whom are the parents of swimmers in the club. We care passionately about retaining the club for future generations of swimmers in Leighton Buzzard.