'Protecting council run leisure services' - a key commitment

13 Oct 2023
Lords Meadow Leisure Centre, Crediton

“In the Liberal Democrat manifesto at the recent local elections one of our top six priorities was to protect council run leisure services,” said Councillor Ben Holdman, Chair of Mid Devon Council Community Policy Development Group, as he and other Councillors visited council funded leisure centres.

“Leisure centres provide an invaluable resource for the community, including our schools. As well as improving residents’ health, they can provide a key social focus for young people and older citizens. And let’s not forget during the COVID pandemic they provided critical vaccination centres. At a time when all council budgets are under pressure, we do of course have to ensure the centres are well run and are using taxpayers’ money wisely. That was a key reason for our recent visit to all three of Mid Devon’s leisure centres.”

“With the huge increase in fuel costs the country has experienced in the last 12 months, energy cost is of course an important concern. Keeping swimming pools up to an ambient temperature for swimming is an expensive task,” commented Councillor Gwen Duchesne. “The investment made in installing ground source heat pumps to help reduce energy costs has been critical. It is also an outstanding example of how we can all reduce our costs and help reach our net-zero targets to help the environment.”

“I use the Lords Meadow Leisure Centre myself on a regular basis,” said Councillor John Downes. “I’ve got a long-term problem with my knee and the use of the fitness centre and the yoga classes have been invaluable in my rehabilitation. I know I’m not alone in needing this sort of support. Of course, it has an added benefit in keeping people out of the NHS, essential as we struggle with growing waiting lists for all sorts of operations.”

“During a cost-of-living crisis it is easy to see leisure and sports centres as a luxury. As Liberal Democrats we are committed to ensuring not just the wealthy can keep healthy,” commented Councillor Andrea Glover. “Mid Devon Council faces many challenges as the Government continue their squeeze on local council finances, there are hard decisions to take. But Liberal Democrats are committed to doing our best to ensure that these important social and health resources continue to provide support for their local communities.”

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