Friday, 6 June 2008

Out of her depth

The last few years has seen the Tory portfolio holder (and fellow Rushmere Councilor) for Culture and Leisure in Ipswich, Judy Terry, make a number of statements and commitments to swimming in Ipswich- she was for the re-opening of Broom Hill outdoor pool, and she would put council money forward to help the Broom Hill Trust. She is then going to build a 50 metre Olympic Pool next to the football ground on Portman Road. But at the same time the Tories seem to be running Crown Street Pool into the ground- now is she for sport for the people of Ipswich, or is it just words?

Now we do have "Team Ipswich" and in that we have our own Ipswich swimming Olympian in Karen Pickering- and "Team Ipswich" seem to be doing a good job in attracting sporting teams and competitions to Ipswich in the hope that a number of counties will choose Ipswich as their pre-Olympic base in 2012. Last week we had the Antigua and Bardbuda Football team and next week we see the Romanian Gymnastic team arrive. Now I am all for this initiative and I want to see top sports competitions in Ipswich and I want to see visiting teams train here but I also want to see the facilities for sport in Ipswich improve so that the people of Ipswich benefit. I want to see the 2012 Olympics leave a sporting legacy in Ipswich as well as in London.

Now this is where Labour and Mrs Terry differ- today Labour Minister - Andy Burnham announced that the Govt is to spend £80 million in getting more of the public swimming- not just talk of a 50 metre pool but an initiative to get people in the pool. free swimming for over 60's at first, then Under 16's and eventually free swimming for all. Now I have met Andy a few times as he was heavily involved in Supporters Direct, the umbrella organisation for Football supporters Trust's that the Govt has given a lot of support to, and who themselves have helped set up Football Trusts at a number of clubs (including Ipswich) and in many cases it is Supporters Direct and the Trusts that have saved a number of clubs from crashing out of the game. So Andy is a man of action not just words. Unlike Mrs Terry, he is not out of his depth.

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