The Great Lambeth Swimming Swindle

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Brilliant news! Lambeth REAL Plus cardholders can now gain entry to Brockwell Lido!

Blimey.

At least that’s what it said on p.74 on the recently published A Really Useful Guide to Services by @lambeth_council:

“In Lambeth there are four leisure centres, a community sports centre, and the Brockwell Lido. All accept the Lambeth REAL Plus card, giving generous discounts at all times.”

It’s complete twaddle of course. You need to take out membership with GLL for indoor swimming, and then a second separate membership with Fusion for the lido.

The infrastructure and freehold may be owned by @lambeth_council, but you have to pay twice for the public service. Plus please overlook the fact that the Lambeth REAL Plus card even uses the image of the lido as the main picture. You won’t gain entry flashing your REAL Plus card around the lido reception.

Having a unified membership scheme, allowing users to access the Lambeth GLL managed indoor pools and the Fusion managed lido, has been an issue that I have campaigned for since Lambeth Council first decided to pimp out leisure facilities to two different contractors.

It’s a question that I tire of asking at GLL user forums (next one 19th November, Clap’ham Leisure Centre) and at the BLU AGM. It seems that the poor Council leisure flunkey tires of answering the question, more than I tire of asking it. So I shall continue to ask it.

Initially I was told it was a “turnstile issue.” The swipe card used by the two separate leisure operators wasn’t compatible.

Ah, I see.

Upon my second time of asking, I was given the reply that the lido comes under Parks management, and not leisure.

Righty ho…

And then finally, at the BLU AGM earlier this month, the Council leisure flunkey confirmed that @lambeth_council couldn’t afford to operate a unified membership scheme; money is coming in from both GLL and Fusion – why pass on the benefits to the Council Tax payers?

That’s what happens when you decide to pimp out a public service to two rival organisations. The profit remains in house (although to be fair, Fusion are rather lovely) and the Council is freed from the day-to-day management of what can be a problematic service to provide.

Am I being victimised? Ha! Not really. The oldies are being ripped off by @lambeth_council as well. Free swimming for the over 60’s in Lambeth pools triumphs the Council’s website. That’s all pools apart from the lido.

I’m tempted to take along p.74 of the recently published A Really Useful Guide to Services by @lambeth_council to the final, final lido swim of the season on Saturday morning and make an arse of myself. But then it’s @lambeth_council that has got the problem (and the profits,) not me. Plus I’ll say it again – Fusion are really rather lovely.

Meanwhile GLL are trying. There’s the Swim London initiative, a scheme that for the same £26 monthly fee I pay to swim in Lambeth indoor pools, I can buy into a membership package that lets me swim in all GLL managed pools across London.

Wonderful! Where do I sign up? And, ah… lookey here. GLL also manage the lovely London Fields Lido up at Hackney. So now we have the truly absurd situation where if I take out membership to swim indoors at Lambeth owned pools, I’m excluded from swimming outdoors at the Lambeth owned lido, but I can swim outdoors at a lido owned by Hackney Council.

Bonkers. I need to take a cold shower. There are plenty of those at Clap’ham right now.

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