Thursday, October 21, 2010

Is it any surprise that Scots are snubbing council leisure centres, poor facilities, poor strategic vision and lack of learning culture kill community

Dear All

One of the things we know is that there is a massive financial crisis which is going to result in savage spending cuts.

In Scotland, the health budget of the Scottish swallows up a third of the Scottish grant.

It is therefore essential that measures are put in place to encourage Scottish people to be fitter.

One of the sure fire methods to achieve such a goal is the taking up of sport.

The benefits of sport are well documented and play into the Tory/Lib Dem approach of ‘big society’.

Sport builds healthy bodies and healthy minds, it develops social skills, leadership and team building, and it is ‘big society’ in miniature.

Almost two-thirds of Scots do not use municipal sports and leisure facilities.

The reason is two fold poor facilities and lack of tuition, the learning culture espoused by politicians effectively doesn’t exist to any great degree.

And that is that failure of a learning culture coupled with poor facilities which make Scots less inclined to use Council facilities.

If a learning culture was in place, attendance and numbers would rise.

When people use a Council facility, they get a standard induction and then they are left to their own devices, sink or swim. They can have personal training but that costs a premium.

My friend is a personal trainer in London, he charges £45 an hour which is a reasonable rate for London, in Scotland, the rates vary but a rough guide is £15 to £25 an hour.

Councils spend a fortune propping up leisure centres with funding of more than £650 million a year.

And they make no attempt to create a market and build a sports community.

The building of community can only come from a learning culture, the more knowledge people in a gym, the higher the technical standard. Some people don’t feel comfortable with instructors preferring to get help from a friend because the environment feels alien.

The first hurdle that both the instructor and trainee have to overcome is the issue of attendance of the trainee. To that end training plans must have goals, short term and long term.

Success isn’t simply measure by physical condition because the learning element must be taken into account.

And People will respond to a challenge if the instructor gains trust.
Scotland’s spending watchdog says local authorities should attempt to find out why so many people fail to take advantage of everything from swimming pools to civic golf courses.

That is simple; education which plays such a big role in society is missing; activities therefore become hard and difficult.

Another massive problem is that facilities are not designed for teaching and are dumb down to the lowest common denominator.

Facilities need to be designed as they would be to cater for the elite.

In Glasgow there is a policy of anti free weights, this was a major mistake on behalf of the Labour Controlled Council. The plan was to encourage ordinary people in and get rid of what is termed ‘the bears’.

When ‘the bears’ left they took their knowledge built up over many years with them leaving a desert!

In an instant, places like Glasgow Council killed the learning culture and community with a single stroke.

If you want to see how poor Glasgow Council facilities are check out both the Kelvinhall and Gorbals facilities.

The Kelvinhall free weights room is a scandal, years ago when I walked in my first thought was what the fuck is this?

At the brand new shiny Gorbals Leisure Centre, the fitness room is too small and extremely poor.

State of the Art!

No just a state.

The instructors relegated to little more than janitors.

And the irony is that the people who would be tasked to make a fitter and healthier Scotland are paid so little under a top heavy management devoid of talent and ideas.

Prove of the pudding.

Almost two-thirds of Scots do not use municipal sports and leisure facilities.

Reform is a word banded about mostly by people using slogans to get noticed with little real credibly ideas but reform of sports and leisure facilities is essential to deliver a fitter and healthier Scotland.

That means a learning culture and better facilities, both fit for purpose.

So, no political party in Scotland has delivered a proper and credible alternative to ensure a fitter and healthier Scotland because they wrongly think new means good and they don’t know what they are talking about either.

Do I?

I passed my fitness exams in weight training and circuit training scoring 95% and 92% in the written papers; I passed exercise counselling exams scoring 94%, I taught at Glasgow University were my students had competed in various sports at the top level.

The picture used in this post says it all, too small and cramped, is this what really passes as a world class facility?

No, but it is what is pushed on Scots by people who don’t know any better.

Is it so strange they don’t want to use it?

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University


A reader writes.... said...

My understanding was that in Finland the heart disease rate was tackled by persuading people to use their great outdoors.

In the 1930's I understand, people from shipyards went hill walking in their tackety boots and roamed the public spaces.

We don't actually need to spend a fortune on leisure facility tractor stats. We need to persuade our people to go out and wander their homeland. There are hundreds of recognised walks in the hills about the central belt. I have done several. On some trips I never saw another soul.

Money is not the solution to our problems. Smoking bans help, minimum alcohol prices help, but lets just get the people out of their houses and roaming that landscape they have the right to roam. Its not about training and funding leisure centre instructors - which would merely improve the competative edge of the council offering to middle class people who go to Bannatynes now. Copy the Finns.

George Laird said...

Dear Reader

As much as I like your idea about the great outdoors there are flaws.

It is not a controlled environment and access to professional help is zero.

Education is the solution, with education comes knowledge to make an informed choice.

How can a person set proper defined goals without that?

They can't so they give up.

And to get knowlegde you have to pay for it, like every other service.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University