Why Rye pool matters to us

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The news that Rye swimming pool faces imminent closure has brought a backlash from our community who feel the proposal is ill-thought-out, has lacked consultation with both the public and local authorities, and may even prove a dangerous decision to make. Rye News reporter Kt Bruce listened to the opinions of some of the people who were campaigning last weekend to save our pool.

It was good to see so many people turn up to support the campaign to keep the swimming pool open in Rye. I spoke with two families who had been using the pool since it started.

Emily Leroy-Lewis told me: “I have had four children who all learned to swim at the pool in Rye. Ben, my eldest, is now seventeen and he started at six months as did all my children. They went through all the classes and have gained many certificates and awards.

Skye Leroy-Lewis

“It would be such a tragedy if it closes, because the next generation of children will not be able to learn to swim. There are other pools but not everyone has transport and these pools already have waiting lists. We live near the water, and it is essential they can cope if they fall in or slip. I am content when we are at the beach that they will be safe. They have the ability to turn on their backs and float and we know from Saving Lives at Sea that many people have been saved because they did just that when they got into difficulty.

“It will put a lot more strain on the lifeguards at Camber and the RNLI if the next generation cannot swim and get into trouble in the water. My children spend most of the summer in the river and although they have an adult with them, I know they have the skills to cope if they got into difficulty. Swimming and being outside takes them away from TV, tablets and game consoles, it keeps them fit and healthy.”

Skye, Emily’s daughter, told me she loved going swimming and gained so much confidence. She is one of the youngest members in the top group and has learnt life-saving skills as well. She would miss it so much if she couldn’t swim each week.

Alecia Benton commented: “Our family has a strong connection with the swimming pool and sports centre. All five children have had school swimming lessons and top-up lessons with LAC Training and have learnt to swim lengths of the pool and water safety techniques. I never learnt to swim, so I am so glad that my children have been able to gain that skill, and living so close to water, it’s a must, not a choice. Phil, my husband, worked at the sports centre for eight-and-a-half years, as a lifeguard, swimming teacher and then a duty manager. Seeing and teaching children to swim from babies to confident swimmers is such a rewarding feeling. Without the pool, some children are never going to achieve water skills and since we live so close to open water sources this will put lives in danger.”

The Benton Family Save our swimming pool Rye

The pool is not just about lessons and learning. Many swimmers of all abilities rely on the pool for their weekly exercise, regulars for their morning swim, once a week for their rehab or aqua-aerobics class. There is also the social aspect too; lots of users will come in and have a coffee with friends, do an activity together. There are also other facilities in which the hirers will be impacted by the closure of the pool. The dance school has siblings swimming at the same time for family convenience, for example, and parents can use the gym whilst the children swim. The closure of the pool will ultimately reduce the footfall of the centre so much, it will become unviable or not cost-effective to continue into the future.

Summer, aged ten, added: “I feel sad that it is closing because lots of people will miss out on a skill everyone should learn. I love to swim there and will miss it.”

Image Credits: Kt bruce .

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