We must accede to women's pleas
I AM writing in support of the group of women from north Bristol who are currently campaigning for a women-only swimming session to be offered at the Horfield Leisure Centre.
As someone who works locally and knows many of the women and children affected by the current lack of provision, I, like many others who have signed the group's petition have felt compelled to get involved.
Some of the reasons why a women-only swimming session is important are personal and some are cultural. Children in the area can miss out on learning how to swim because their mums cannot enter the pool with them and help them to practice. Many teenage girls are also affected.
Whatever the individual reason, when the demand from public reaches the level it has (as evidenced from the size of the current petition) it surely cannot be ignored.
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By not providing a slot in the weekly timetable for women-only swimming, SLM Leisure, which manages Bristol's leisure centres, is forcing families to travel to other parts of the city, often requiring more than one bus journey (and additional cost) to attend women-only sessions that are already very over-subscribed. This demonstrates the commercial viability of running such sessions. Not only this, but if SLM Leisure offers the activity in other Bristol pools then it has already acknowledged women-only swimming to be an important part of the public swimming schedule. I notice Bradley Stoke Leisure Centre in South Glos also provides a weekly women-only session.
I hope others will join the campaign this local community group has begun. An e-petition is available to sign at www.tinyurl.com/ hwspetition and the group can be followed at www.facebook.com/ horfieldwomenswim.