Socialist Worker

Save the Atherton Leisure Centre

by Dave Sewell
Issue No. 2273

Users of the Atherton Leisure Centre in Stratford, east London are campaigning to save it from closure.

Over 1,000 people, including a local councillor, stopped to sign the petition against plans to close the centre last Saturday.

Angelina Stemvall, a psychology student at the University of East London, said, “It’s ridiculous that they’re closing down the only gym in this area—and this is the Olympic area.”

Over £9 billion has been poured into the Olympics site, less than a mile from the centre. The games were awarded to London partly on the basis that their “legacy” would be increased investment and participation in sport for ordinary people.

But the Atherton, used by a quarter of a million people every year, is being closed to save just £250,000.

“None of what they are telling us about the Olympics makes sense,” said Stratford resident Rob Stewart on Saturday’s campaign stall.

The campaign has now received support from three Olympic veterans—including former gold medallist Tessa Sanderson.

This Saturday users of the leisure centre and their supporters are organising a “People’s Olympics” protest.

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Article information

Tue 11 Oct 2011, 18:47 BST
Issue No. 2273
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