According to a representative poll of 1008 Scottish adults, 94% of Scots agree that swimming pools are important for safety by teaching children to swim.
The poll, conducted from 30 January to 1st February by JL partners, part of the British Polling Council, found overwhelming support for children learning to swim with Scottish Swimming join the home nations across the UK and Community Leisure Scotland in the #SaveOurPools campaign which highlights the positive value of swimming pools and the need for financial relief for the sector during the immediate energy crisis.
This public support comes at a challenging time for the community leisure sector with 95% of Community Leisure Scotland’s member Leisure Trusts at risk according to the organisation’s November 2022 report. 63% of members in discussions and planning around the impact of facility closures. While this is across all facilities, pools are among those with highest operating costs.
Euan Lowe, CEO of Scottish Swimming said: “It’s fantastic to see these levels of public support for swimming pools and children learning to swim. As the governing body for aquatics in Scotland we have long known the safety, community and health benefits of swimming and aquatic sports and we also know how critical it is to keep pools open for these very reasons.
“The energy crisis is having a devastating effect on the leisure sector and especially pools with spiralling energy costs and urgent financial relief is needed to ensure pools keep their doors open.”
90% of the Scottish public agree that pool closures are bad for communities. In fact the public agreed that pools have a positive role to play in society in a number of areas.
88% of Scots agree that swimming pools are important for communities.
Pools and leisure centres often lie at the heart of communities bringing families, clubs and individuals together for fitness, fun and friendship. They are often a daily dose of health and fitness for more than 21,000 club members in Scotland and a lifeline for many who depend on them for social interaction.
86% of Scots agree that swimming pools are important for health.
Swimming reaches all ages and abilities from birth upwards. The unique weight-bearing properties of water mean its accessible for those with injuries or conditions such as dementia, diabetes and depression, those recovering from trauma or simply as a positive prescription for improved mental and physical health. Swimming saves the NHS around £357 million a year.
In terms of sporting success, 84% of the Scottish public think swimming pools are important for Scotland’s success in swimming as a sport.
Swimming pools are where home-grown heroes and champions are made. Swimming and diving are both aquatics sports where a full pathway exists in Scotland from grass roots through to performance on the international stage.
Duncan Scott MBE, Scotland’s most decorated athlete at a Commonwealth Games and Olympic and World champion commented: “I learned to swim at my local community pool and have been fortunate to go on to sporting success, but as Scottish Water and Scottish Swimming ambassador for learn to swim the most important thing is to get all children learning to swim in Scotland from a safety point of view.
“As an island nation with thousands of lochs and miles of coastline it is critical that children learn to swim to keep them safer, confident and competent in and around water.”
Brian Lironi, Director of Corporate Affairs with Scottish Water, said: “Learning to swim is a critical life skill for children and adults across Scotland and swimming pools obviously play an essential role in continuing to host lessons that develop and equip youngsters across the country to be safer, confident and competent swimmers – creating Scotland’s “Generation Swim”.
Scottish Swimming join the home nations across the UK and Community Leisure Scotland in the #SaveOurPools campaign which highlights the positive value of swimming pools and the need for financial relief for the sector during the immediate energy crisis.
This photo (and headline photo): Falkirk Community Trusts’ Learn to Swim programme at Grangemouth Sports Complex with Learn to Swim programme Brand Ambassador, double Olympic silver medallist, World and European champion Duncan Scott and pupils from Bowhouse Primary School, Grangemouth
Photo Credit: Sandy young / www.scottishphotographer.com