Thursday, 29 December 2011

It’s sad to wave goodbye to Waterworld

Letter in the Evening News

Dear Editor

I’d like to thank Alison Johnstone and the Green Party for tabling a motion last week at the City Chambers asking the council to abide by its own 2007 decision not to close Leith Waterworld until the Royal Commonwealth Pool opens to the public, and to undertake an Equality Impact Assessment on the withdrawal of the important service provided by the Leith facility (News, December 23).

In doing so the Edinburgh Greens allowed the group campaigning to save Leith Waterworld to make their case in front of our elected representatives. I am not a Green voter, but someone who sincerely believes that allowing Waterworld to close with nary a whimper and without proper procedure being followed would be seriously remiss of councillors.

The establishment of the Splashback group to save Waterworld was certainly eleventh- hour, but since its inception has conducted an honest, focused and positive campaign. Splashback collected 5000 signatures in the first six days of petitioning outside Waterworld – equal to one a minute. For councillors to refuse even to discuss what we hold to be a travesty for the city would have reflected very badly on all those we have chosen to represent us.

Chris Askham, Dalmeny Street, Leith

Thursday, 22 December 2011

Swimming against the tide


Following today's decision in the Council Chambers to force through the closure Leith Waterworld...

"We are very disappointed and astonished that the Council have not been able to meet their commitment to the people of Edinburgh to keep Leith Waterworld open until the Royal Commonwealth Pool is fully reopened to the public.  We are extremely concerned that the administration have not followed due process, particularly in relation to fostering equality in the city.

Cllr Brock did not want to go into details today.  Is she, or indeed the council, in possession of the full facts?  This SNP/Lib Dem administration is making decisions about service provision for children and the disabled in Leith based on innuendo and rumour.  Over the three weeks the administration have refused to engage with the campaign and provide full and fair information.  Cllr Brock has repeatedly provided different and misleading details on the costs and the lack of consultation with the community.

There was no substantive debate on the issues in the Chamber, simply ad hominem attacks on Councillors who listen to their communities.  SNP Cllr Cardownie’s statement that he would not have made his promise to the people of Edinburgh in 2007 if he knew it would be taken literally is beyond belief. 

Can any commitment he, or Cllr Brock, now makes be relied on?  This is symptomatic of the disconnect that exists between this administration and the people of Edinburgh. 

This is the not the end.  We will continue to oppose this closure until the doors are locked.  We will now enjoy Christmas with our families and will consider all our options."

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Long distance

Message of support from campaigner Chris, on his long, way home (on the bus!) with family to Slovakia for Christmas...

This is brussels calling. I am offline until tomorrow, so thought i could send the campaign a text message of support for this evening and thursday.... 

If there is a suitable opportunity then the message is that the splashback campaign so far has doubly reinforced my original motivations. 

Time spent at the SUB talking to people using the pool and people walking past has clearly shown - day after day - that our attempt to stop the closure is not only about current users. The campaign is also important to people who have used water world in the past, as well as those who have never been in. 

But - most importantly - the campaign is for those who haven't used it yet.

Full Splashback! briefing released

Splashback! is today publishing a briefing, which sets outs the campaign's case as it seeks a reprieve of the proposed closure of Leith Waterworld on Sunday 8 Jan 2012.

The PDF document details why the campaign thinks that the decision to close the pool is now redundant and needs to be urgently reviewed by the City of Edinburgh Council.  The briefing was sent to all Councillors in advance of tomorrow's motion at the full Council meeting.

The briefing can be downloaded from here :full Splashback briefing

Don't pull the plug!

Edinburgh celebrities have thrown their weight behind the public campaign to save Edinburgh's only leisure pool, Leith Waterworld, from closure on 8 January 2012. Condemnation of the planned closure from Irvine Welsh, David Greig, The Proclaimers and John Loughton comes as the tally of petition signatures against the Council axing reaches over 5,000...

The Splashback! campaign is tomorrow taking its case for a reprieve for the well-loved amenity to the full Council in the morning.  Campaigners are arguing that the Council should stand by it's 2007 promise to keep the facility open until the Royal Commonwealth Pool is 'open to the public'.  The delay would also allow the Council to wait to see results of the Equality Impact Assessment, which assesses whether certain users groups would be particularly hard hit by the proposed closure.  As of yet, the EqIA has not been done by Edinburgh Leisure, despite being a requirement of the funding agreement between the two bodies. 

Splashback! believes that any decision on the future of the pool by the Councillors must be based on up-to-date information and furthermore believes that a meaningful assessment of the proposed closure will reveal the unfair impact that the decision to close would have on toddlers, children, , families, people with disabilities and people in Leith. 

Splashback! has been overwhelmed, but not surprised, by the support the campaign and the cause has received over the past three weeks.

Full text of the Evening News article here:

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Deputation at Full Council meeting

Campaign update on the mounting debate over controversial City of Edinburgh Council (CEC) plans to close Leith Waterworld on 8 January 2012.

Splashback!, the dynamic residents’ campaign to save the Capital's only leisure pool,  welcome the announcement by Edinburgh’s Green Party Councillors that they will support the campaign’s efforts to stave off the planned closure.

Green Councillors confirmed that they back Splashback’s fight to keep Leith Waterworld open at least until the Royal Commonwealth Pool (RCP) re-opens at the end of March 2012, and hopefully beyond. Alison Johnstone, Green Party Culture and Leisure spokesperson on the Council, will table a motion to that effect at the Council’s Full Meeting on Thursday 22 December. (For full agenda see here)  The Full Meeting will see a Splashback! deputation present residents’ concerns – and the broad public support for the campaign – in the form of a petition.

The Greens’ support for Splashback! comes as it emerges that an Equality Impact Assessment (EqIA) for the closure of the leisure pool, which is popular with young families and the disabled, has not been done. In order to meet its obligations under the Equalities Act 2010, the CEC obliges Edinburgh Leisure to carry out an EqIA before changing or withdrawing services, to assess implications of its decisions on the whole community.

However, Edinburgh Leisure has confirmed to Splashback! that an EqIA on the closure has not been completed. “We have not had a satisfactory response from Councillors to the question of whether an EqIA has been done,” said Splashback! campaigners.

Alison Johnstone said: “It would be ironic if part of the legacy of Scotland’s 2014 Commonwealth Games was the closure of a unique and well-used facility, enjoyed by people across Lothians.”

A Splashback! statement from last week reads: “We welcome the support of Green Party Councillors and their move to put this issue before the Full Council Meeting next week. We hope Councillors from other parties will agree to stand by their promise, made in February 2007, to keep Leith Waterworld open at least until the RCP opens to the public, now likely to be end March 2012.

“In addition, we hope Councillors will recognise that a full and robust EqIA must be completed as a matter of urgency; and that its results should inform any further decisions about the future of Leith Waterworld,”

The Splashback! campaign is upping the ante in its fight to keep the popular leisure pool open.

With just 18 days left before Leith Waterworld is due to shut its doors for good, it has gathered a massive 5,000-plus petition signatures against the closure online and in person.

Splashback! campaign held a public meeting on Tuesday 20 December at Leith Academy, 7.30pm to 9pm. The meeting offered an opportunity to hear a campaign progress update and a chance to examine all the facts and implications of the pool’s proposed closure.

Splashback interview

Following the public meeting on the future of Leith Waterworld,  held on Tuesday 20th of December 2011 at Leith Academy, Greener Leith caught up with Johnny Gailey from the Splashback! campaign.

Save Leith Water World Campaign (mp3)

Audio courtesy of Greener Leith:  Full post available here

Public Meeting

Image of the Splashback banner at Easter Road on Sat 10 Dec. Courtesy of the Edinburgh Evening News, with thanks.
Progress update from Splashback!, the residents' campaign to save Leith Waterworld from the proposed closure on 8 January 2012. We've only been campaigning for three weeks but already public support has been overwhelming.  There's been plenty in the press lately from both the Council and the campaign, here's a chance to hear and discuss the facts, figures and implications...

Councillors have been invited.

7.30pm-9pm at Leith Academy,
20 Academy Park, Edinburgh, Midlothian EH6 8JQ
Enter by side entrance of the building.

View Larger Map .

Monday, 19 December 2011

Saturday, 17 December 2011

Ready, steady, GO!

Brilliant turnout today for the Splashmob!; citizens making a noise about the proposed closure of Leith Waterworld... Thanks to everyone who came down, and a special big up to the drummers for Pulse of the Place, who kept us going - positive young Leithers the lot of them!

If anyone has pictures of the splashmob, (and there were lots of cameraphones) please send them all, any quality to and we PROMISE to put all of them up!!

Keep an eyeout on the Sunday media (Scotland on Sunday/Sunday Herald/STV/Edinburgh Evening News) for more pics and news...

Thursday, 15 December 2011


This Saturday 17 December:
SPLASHMOB... Come show your support in a crazy outfit!
Press photographers will be there to take some pics for the papers.

Bring the whole family... all ages welcome, the more the merrier! Get dressed up in anything water/swimming/ocean/beach-themed (armbands, flippers, snorkel, mermaid suit, beach hat, hula skirt, fish mask, hawaiian shirt etc etc), bring placards and instruments!

Get ready to dance, there'll be some music! Gather 10am for 10.30 outside Leith Waterworld.

Join this event on Facebook


The SUB will be parked outside the pool again this Friday to Sunday to collect petition signatures. If you can help man the SUB, please email

Splashed across the papers!

As the Splashback! campaign grows, so too do the column inches...  On Monday night, 12 Dec, the Edinburgh Evening News featured a head-to-head article between the Splashback! campaign, arguing against the closure, with Cllr Deidre Brock(Leith Walk ward, Head of the Council's Culture and Leisure and Vice Chair of Edinburgh Leisure board) outlining the Council's reasons for closure.

Full text here:

Cllr Brock wrote in to correct what she saw as factual inaccurancies in a letter to the editor in the following day's letter pages (Wed 14 Dec)...

Splashback have formally responded to Cllr Brocks' assertions, reasserting what we believe are the correct figures (fri 16 Dec)... 

Elsewhere in the Wed 14 Dec edition of the Edinburgh Evening News, the paper published the results of their survey of readers about the closure.  Hard to interpret this as anything else other than conclusive public support for the campaign's aim to keep the pool open, with 0% (not one person) voting for the closure under the reason that 'it is a drain on the city's resources'.

Meanwhile STV published on their website on Wed 14 Dec , an article written by Cllr Marjorie Thomas (Cllr for Leith Ward and also on the board of Edinburgh Leisure) outlining her rationale for why the pool must close.  Splashback's response was published today, Thursday 15 Dec, and is available here.

Friday, 9 December 2011

29 days to go!

Another busy day on the SUB outside Waterworld - and an additional further 500 signatures for the petition! People were happy to stop despite the freezing weather to sign... Thank you all for the support.

Support is growing as word spreads about the decision to close the pool on Jan 8th. Indeed over 220 people have got in touch with the Leith MP to discuss the matter... We urge constituents from across the city who have concerns about the closure to get in touch with their local Councillor this weekend, so they all have a bulging inbox on Monday morning! We believe this is not just an issue for Leith but for the whole of Edinburgh. You can download templates for letters here and find out the name of your Councillor from the Council's website...

In the mean time keep an eye on the media and the papers next week - below is a piece which appeared in online journal Bella Caledonia:

Save Leith Waterworld - We Have 40 Days to Reverse An Outrage
It has come as a shock to the local community that Leith Waterworld is set to close its doors for good on Monday 8th January. This shabby outrageous decision was being kept hidden from the local community but leaked out this week and has now been confirmed.

No one can deny that Leith Waterworld is a much-loved community asset. Kids adore it, it’s always busy, and it’s the only swimming pool in Edinburgh with flumes to play on. Although the pool is only be open three days a week in term time (the Council have been trying to run it down and close it for years) on the days it is open, come rain or shine, there are long queues of folk waiting to get in.
..... More

Monday, 5 December 2011

On the blocks...

Pictures of the SUB (the Swimming Utility Battlebus) in situ, from the first weekend of petitioning at Leith Waterworld - over 2000 signatures collected already! Fantastic support from Leithers, the Edinburgh public and from beyond...

Saturday, 3 December 2011

Making a splash!

The minutes from the first Splashback public meeting (last Wednesday 30 Nov) are now available online here

Please remember the next meeting - a campaign planning meeting - is being held on Monday 5 December, from 6 - 8pm at Duncan Place Resource Centre. There will be a good creche space available but we need volunteers to mind whilst the meeting is on. For those who don't know, Duncan Place Resource Centre is based here.

Friday, 2 December 2011

Learning to swim...

Whilst we have been flyering the past couple of days, lots of people have been telling us stories about the times they have spent in Leith Waterworld - please do let us know your stories or reasons for keeping the pool open.... either email or comment below this post. We can gather and use these in the campaign, so many thanks for all comments

Thursday, 1 December 2011

latest campaign news

We need volunteers for the weekend to flyer and leaflet at Leith Waterworld. Please email, with the times you are willing and available and a contact number. One hour is good, two hours is fantastic!

We were building the Swimming Utility Battlebus (SUB) today, Thursday 1 December at Out of the Blue Drill Hall.. We are pimping an old children's bike trailer to create a mobile cart that we can move around and collect signatures foir the petition from... Thanks to those who helped.

We are a young campaign, with a lot to achieve in a short amount of time - we only have forty days to save the (Leith Water)world!. On Monday there were 2, Tuesday there was 3, and by the end of yesterday we have over 70 people involved!

We have over 100 at present on our mailing list, and over the past two days (since it was set up) the blog has had over 500 visits!

We are gaining momentum in part because of the widespread and heartfelt dismay at the decision to close the much-loved Leith Waterworld.

We have had good media coverage in both yesterday's Evening News,
and today from STV Local

We are gaining momentum, but we will need help to carry this through to the finish. Please let your friends and family who might be interested, know about our campaign. Please tweet and Facebook about the campaign. Please volunteer to help us petition, leaflet and flyer and please bear with us whilst we create a petition that is integrated with the current one on Facebook...

Most importantly at the moment, please ask people to join our e-mailing list to be kept updated via the blog at

Thanks to everyone who came to yesterdays meeting - the first public meeting of Splashback. Over 60 people turned up, and spoke about why they wanted to save Leith Waterworld - some fantastic contributions from the floor, especially the young ones who spoke up in front of everyone - well done. Thanks for all the campaign suggestions and offer to get involved. We will be circualting the minutes in due course.

Campaign meeting
Date: Monday 5 December
Venue: Duncan Place Resource Centre, 4 Duncan Place, Leith, Edinburgh, EH6 8HW
Time: 6 - 8pm

Our first planning meeting to look at how we build the campaign, based on the ideas we received at yesterdays public meeting.

Please join us to discuss and plan how we progress. We will review what we know so far and what we wish to do in the next 40 days.

Everyone welcome... We will be looking to allocate areas of interest accrding to skills and interests people have.. The venue is fully accessible and we will be hoping to have childcare if anyone volunteers to look after children. Anyone?

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Jumping in the deep end

Thanks you to everyone who could make it to todays public meeting - the first for Splashback. We had over 40 adults in attendence and 25 children and young people, which is a fantastic attendance given everything else that was happening today...

We had some great contributions and points from the floor - questions concerning various user groups and constituencies - from young families with tots, to children starting to visit amenities on their own, from people with disabilities to teenagers, from people in Leith to people from throughout the Edinburgh area and indeed tourists!

We really appreciated hearing the concerns but more importantly the support for the campaign, especially from some of the younger members of the audience. All questions we will collate and attempt to answer over the next few weeks... but only with with your help.

We will circulate the minutes tomorrow and send out specific requests for help. We anticipate preparing a briefing over the next fortnight for people to approach their Councillors and MSPs/MP's.

If people are available to assist with getting signatures for a petition outside Waterworld this weekend it would be great to have teams of three or so...but we will update. We also anticipate setting up weekly campaign meetings from next Monday evening (5th December, times and venue to be confirmed).

Best wishes for now - a great start to the campaign to save Leith Waterworld!

The Evening News covered the story today here:
Save Leith Waterworld article


Sunday, 27 November 2011

Save Leith Waterworld

Public meeting:

Wednesday 30 Nov - 2 – 3pm

at Out of the Blue, The Drill Hall, 36 Dalmeny Street,

off Leith Walk, Edinburgh


Did you know that Leith Waterworld is due to close its doors for good on 8 January 2012?

Are you concerned about what the loss of this valuable amenity would mean for you, your family, Leith and the whole of Edinburgh?

A public meeting has been called to discuss the closure. Please do email if you can’t make it and wish to be added to the mailing list:

All welcome

Children of all ages welcome