Thursday, 24 October 2013

TANSTAAFL, Barking & Dagenham Council...

The council is trying out a new strategy to tackle child obesity by offering all pupils in year eight free use of leisure facilities in Barking and Dagenham.
'Free'..? Or are the ratepayers stumping up, again?
The pilot scheme launches on October 28 - the beginning of October half-term - and will run until March 31.
All children aged 12 and 13 living in the borough will get to use leisure activities such as swimming, Junior Gym sessions and others delivered by the community sports team.
They can also have free access to both the borough’s leisure centres at Abbey Sports Centre in Barking and Becontree Heath Leisre (sic) Centre in Dagenham.
So, the council normally provides these facilities for a fee, but is waiving it. Hmmm. I bet the heating and lighting will stay on, and the workers aren't providing their services for free.

So someone's making up the shortfall, aren't they?
Council leader Liam Smith commented: “This project is a great example of the work the council is delivering, not only to increase active participation in sport but also help address wider health issues.”
No. No, it's not. The 'work the council should be delivering' is taking away the rubbish and keeping the parks cleaned and the roads maintained.

Not jumping on the 'obesity crisis' bandwagon.


Lynne at Counting Cats said...

Presumably the fee paying clientele will have to take a back seat and book well in advance for the duration of this largesse?

Woman on a Raft said...

There is a long precedent for public provision of exercise places; parks for example. Previously we also supplied taxpayer-funded facilities managers - or 'park keepers' as they were known - who had no legal authority but exercised enough moral authority that people felt safe in parks. We also supply many playgrounds which are well-used and are an absolute godsend for amusing bored teenies (disclosure there - my goodness I think I got your tax-money's worth out of those swings and slides).

There are many things I resent paying for but at least with parks, playgrounds and leisure centres we get something to show for our money. On balance, I would rather they set up programmes which mop up bored and fractious adolescents during the holidays than have term-time 5-a-day coordinators or the army of people mumbling about PHSE which observably do nothing at all to discourage teenage pregnancy.

Might as well let the sports enthusiasts try to improve matters; maybe they'll succeed where lectures from plump nurses have failed.

Bucko said...

When I was a nippier there was something called the 'Playscheme' during the summer holidays. It was the usual leisure centre activities with a few extras like a waterslide and stuff.

There was a fee to get in but it wasn't huge (enogh to cover expenses probably) and it was always packed.

People used to pay for stuff they wanted before we started telling them all that they were entitled to everything for free.

Tatty said...

Bucko - almost - "People used to pay for stuff they wanted before we started telling them all that they were entitled to everything at someone else's expense."

Bucko said...

Tatty - I stand corrected :-)

Tatty said...

Bucko - Please, sit down. I'm not a monster :)

Furor Teutonicus said...

Blogger Bucko The Moose said...

When I was a nippier there was something called the 'Playscheme' during the summer holidays.XX

All we had was fight the gang from the other side of town, and annoy the park-keepers.

Worked for us.

BenshamLad said...

Who will pay for the extra security needed to protect the paying customers from this sudden influx of 12 and 13 year olds or will the paying customers have fled?

L fairfax said...

Why not cut VAT on gyms and swimming pools for everyone rather than having it free for a few.