After many attempts to get the Purley Leisure Centre’s doors open again, two schools have now come together to try to persuade the council of the venue’s value
Since the pandemic began, Croydon Council has received £1m of grants, which have been allocated to sports and leisure services. But as of yet, none of those funds have reached the leisure centre.
Since it closed at the start in March 2020, there have been multiple endeavours to get people back inside, and using its facilities, which include a 25m pool, and a newly-refurbished gym. For example, ‘The Save Purley Pool Campaign’ staged a protest in May 2021, and back in 2020, a petition was also set up, which amassed 4000 signatures.
But speaking in September 2020, Cllr Redfern spoke on the issue, and claimed that ‘It comes down to money, the council has failed to maintain it on a day-to-day basis so it is highly inefficient. We are really worried now, the money will never be found. A centre that hasn’t been maintained is very costly to reboot’.
But this week, the area has seen fresh campaigns to get the centre back open, coming from two different schools. The pupils from St Aidan’s Catholic Primary School and Christ Church Purley Church of England Primary School have released a joint video, in which they detail why the leisure centre is so important to the area.
Joel Lane, assistant headteacher at Christ Church C of E Primary School, outlined the video, saying, ‘On the video, the children explain how the closure of the pool would affect many children from local schools as well as the most vulnerable groups within society including those with disabilities and the elderly’.
He also mentioned how costly the permanent closure would be to the residents of Croydon due to the logistical challenges: ‘School visits to the nearest leisure centre, in Waddon, would pose significant safeguarding risks due to the busy roads and would take up to 45 minutes each way, taking valuable learning time away from other subject areas’.
Furthermore, the pupils have also written to Councillor Hamida Ali at Croydon Council, and Chris Philp, MP for Croydon South, where they outline the reasons why the centre should re-open. A fresh petition has also been created to gain support for their cause, and their total thus far stands at over 2700 signatures.
The local residents can only hope that the voices of these youngsters are heard. To add your name to the petition, please visit: https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/croydon-council-please-re-open-purley-leisure-centre
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