At Tuesday's NWLDC meeting, the ruling Tory Group and Liberal Democrat Cllr Wyatt turned down a Labour amendment to the Budget that would have spent some of the District Council’s reserves on providing free public swimming sessions for all young people under 16 years old who reside in North West Leicestershire.
The proposal, calculated to cost £46,000, would have been paid for out of a £1,600,000 Special Projects Reserve created to hold surplus funds from Planning receipts and the Government’s New Homes Bonus.
Cllr Sue McKendrick is disappointed at this approach. "The future is uncertain, but in times of austerity Councils should be investing in projects that increase the wealth and wellbeing of the communities they serve. This project would have acted as a loss-leader, encouraging more customers into the Leisure Centres to take up other opportunities such as paid-for gym membership.”
Cllr Dr Terri Eynon agrees. “Cuts to Public Health and rising levels of childhood obesity mean District Councils need to find ways to encourage the inactive to become active. This proposal would have worked alongside the school-based Active8 programme run by Leicestershire and Rutland Sport. It would have raised expectations, encouraging children to consider swimming AND ball-games, effectively funding two Leisure activities a week for school age children instead of one.”