Campaigners made waves to save school swimming pools - Richard Leonard

My congratulations go to all those campaigners who fought to save four high school swimming pools from closure.
​Grangemouth High School’s swimming pool was one of four under threat of closure​Grangemouth High School’s swimming pool was one of four under threat of closure
​Grangemouth High School’s swimming pool was one of four under threat of closure

At a recent council meeting, after weeks of worry, the proposal to further hold up a decision on these pools for six more months was thankfully voted down.

Labour councillors put forward the positive case for the pools to be kept open with a programme to increase usage and generate revenue. They carried the day when the issue was put to the vote.

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Swimming is especially important for children and young people. Studies show that learning to swim early on in life reduces the risk of drowning by up to 88 per cent, it also helps build social skills and provides psychological benefits.

On the subject of keeping active, I was delighted to visit the Denny and Bonnybridge Men’s Shed recently. It’s a fantastic local resource providing community support, friendship and a range of activities from woodworking and bike repairs to music.

Whether it is learning to swim at school, or learning to play a musical instrument in later years, these activities benefit the public health of the entire community. They are preventative public health measures, which have a part to play alongside social and economic action to tackle poverty and inequality.

Everyone knows that our NHS and its workforce are up against it. In Forth Valley the strains are clear to see. So late last year, the Scottish Government brought in an external team to help lead improvements to the services this community not only needs, but deserves.

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The good news is that six months on, some services are improving.

But the pressure on the Forth Valley Royal Hospital, when it comes to urgent and unscheduled treatment is intense, and it is growing.

One significant factor is that too many people well enough to leave hospital, are being kept in, because home care and community support is not in place.

This cannot go on. Preventative public health measures, investment in our communities, and a thriving NHS, free at the point of need, are not unreasonable demands. They are basic rights in a civilised society.

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