CamdenNewJournal

The independent London newspaper

Pond swimming should remain free

07 August, 2020

‘Very little in life is free, that is why it is so important that the ponds should remain free’

• AS a regular swimmer before the lockdown, I am having difficulty even booking a swim at the Heath ponds.

Whenever I go to select a date, every time-slot for a whole week in advance is booked. The booking system is set up for one week in advance, and they’re all sold out.

I suffer from a stress-related disorder, and needless to say this is a problem for me. I also have a physical disability as well and the ponds have always been beneficial for my physical and mental wellbeing. But not any more.

The City of London seem to think that they own the Heath and the ponds. I am sure it is such an advantage for the City to receive this money from all of these bookings.

But what about no-shows? Have they thought about that? I am sure that some people will not turn up for their swim.

I would have to show up – as I can’t afford not to. I can’t afford even the concession rate to swim regularly even if I could book a slot.

I don’t buy coffee, as I don’t drink it, but I do spend my money on essentials such as food and bills.

As to the letter (There was a charge for swimming when I started there in 2014, July 30), where Judy Dixey states that “so much is expected for free” – what is the “so much” being referred to?

Us swimmers who have swam in the ponds for many years have not had to pay and should not pay for a swimming pond which has always been free.

Is that too much to ask? The paying system was – until now – optional since 2005 not compulsory. That is the difference. I was swimming way before then when it was a lovely haven with no ticket machines in sight.

Judy Dixey’s letter goes on to say that medical practitioners could prescribe swimming for people with health problems. This is not an option.

Anyway, why should I have to degrade myself to go begging to my GP to give me a letter to refer me for a swim? The same with the so called hardship fund that never materialised.

Very little in life is free, that is why it is so important that the ponds should remain free.

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