Outrage over ‘cuts’ to Leeds John Charles centre leisure classes

9 July 2013.....   Lifeguard on duty at the John Charles Equatic Centre Leeds.  Leeds Sport and Active Lifestyles at Leeds City Council has beaten 3,000 other lifeguard training schemes to win an award for being the best.
9 July 2013..... Lifeguard on duty at the John Charles Equatic Centre Leeds. Leeds Sport and Active Lifestyles at Leeds City Council has beaten 3,000 other lifeguard training schemes to win an award for being the best.
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A retired GP who recommended Leeds’ John Charles Centre for Sport to his patients says he is outraged after fitness classes were slashed and decisions were made without public consultation at the leisure facility.

Dr Raj Menon, from Bramhope, claims Leeds City Council “does not care” for the health of residents after lunchtime classes at the council-run centre were axed.

He also claims payment systems for swimming lessons were changed, in a move that he says has alienated the elderly.

The council said changes at its leisure centres reflect demand, and that it has been forced to respond to “significant reductions” in central government funding.

In a letter, Dr Menon said: “I was a GP in Hunslet for over 30 years and I actively asked my patients to take part in the activities offered by the stadium.”

“Now that I am retired and seeking to remain fit I find the options are steadily being reduced. There are fewer lunch time classes and there generally appears to be feeling that management knows best.”

He said representations had been made to the management team at the centre, over a series of class cuts, “to no avail”.

Dr Menon added: “These faceless administrators have to be removed and the failure of our elected representatives to act on our behalf is simply astonishing.”

A council spokesperson said: “We regularly work with customers and review what’s on offer through our leisure centres to reflect changes in demand, emerging trends in the health and wellbeing market and to ensure services remain viable.

“We also have to respond to significant reductions in central government funding and changes in the way people want to access and pay for leisure services as well as a much more mixed economy in the health and leisure industry.

“We continue to run around 400 weekly classes from our centres across the city at a range of times. Full details can be found on our website, including how to book and pay.”

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