The announced closure of John Carroll Leisure Centre has rocked the Radford community and hundreds of individuals have spoken out calling for its doors to remain open. We simply cannot stand by and let vital services like this disappear. John Carroll is the last remaining community facility in Radford, which is one of the most deprived areas of Nottingham. Quite simply removing it would be a devastating loss.
John Carroll Leisure Centre is at risk of closure as the Nottingham City Council have identified it as “at risk”. It is due to be permanently shut from June as part of large Council budget cuts. Leaders have justified this stating that John Carroll was the “least used facility” in comparison to other venues with the same high budget. However, we feel that this is not acceptable as John Carroll is used and loved by people of all ages and has remained a constant meeting place for members of the community for decades. It is a safe space for women to come together, exercise, laugh and find joy. As one of the only places in Nottingham to offer female-only swimming classes it holds a key role in the mental and physical health for women in our city. To take this service away would be to do a massive disservice to the women of Nottingham and leave them without a place to exercise freely. It also provides children with a place to go after school to build confidence and have fun playing sports that the under-funded schools in the area often cannot afford to offer.
John Carroll is not just a sports hub though and has successfully served as a polling centre many times and as a safe space for those to access support surrounding FGM. These examples are only a handful of the services the leisure centre has provided to the community over the decades. The space is being used; it is not an abandoned building to be knocked down. We need to invest in spaces that support community cohesion and collaboration. By closing safe meeting spaces like this, you disperse people and the Council are offering no alternatives in the area. Emerging from a time of great isolation and loneliness in the shape of lockdown, we have to prioritize people and community. We need to foster co-operation and trust between people. We will need to meet and mix more so than ever before and this closure completely stops that for those in Radford, which is not acceptable.
This is more than a physical closure as this is a symbolic loss for communities that do so much for each other, yet consistently receive subpar support from the local government. In fact, in 2019 Nottingham Labour specifically promised to protect leisure centres from budget cuts in their local election manifesto. We have to hold them accountable and protect the people of Radford. We strongly support the Save John Carroll campaign and urge the Council to reverse their decision. We cannot save money at the expense of people’s mental and physical health. It is non-negotiable.
Find out more and how to oppose the closure at: https://www.savejohncarroll.co.uk/