GLASGOW swimming pools are still facing disruptions to their full services despite reopening since the pandemic.
While the city’s pools have been back in use since the easing of Covid restrictions, Glasgow Life continues to experience issues running at full capacity for swimmers due to a lack of staff and apps.
Avid swimmer John McManus says he was told in May that full services could not be resumed due to the shortage, but he feels things have not changed since then.
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He is particularly concerned that people have to book a slot to go swimming, rather than just showing up.
John told the Glasgow Times: “After the pandemic, we need to take care of our mental and physical health and people should be able to get back to normal routine, but you have to phone or book online.
“If you just want to go down to the pool there is only space available if no one has booked online.”
John has used various swimming pools in the town including at Castlemilk, the Gorbals and Tollcross.
He thinks people who may struggle with technology, such as the elderly and those with mental health issues, could miss swimming because of the online system.
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He said: “It’s important for our health after being locked down, and for people who don’t have access to computers and smartphones and just want to walk to a swimming pool that’s not available.”
A Glasgow Life spokesperson said: “Much of the UK leisure industry is experiencing significant disruption to services due to staff shortages and this continues to be a problem for Glasgow Life.
“We are doing everything we can to recruit and train staff to deal with the situation, but there are supervision ratios in all of our pools which dictate the number of lifeguards we need for the number of customers in the pool.
“We run thousands of swim sessions and swim lessons every week, but right now we don’t have enough trained lifeguards and Learn to Swim instructors available to keep all of our pools running at full capacity. .
“Offering sessions with a fixed capacity and advance booking, as many other major operators still do, helps us ensure everyone who visits our pools has the best and safest experience possible.
“Our previous recruitment processes failed to attract enough applicants; earlier this year we attempted to recruit for 30 lifeguard positions and only received 39 applications.
“Swim England has since launched a national campaign to address the shortage of swimming staff across the UK, highlighting that around half a million young people could be missing out on the opportunity to learn to swim.”
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Despite the worrying lack of applications, Glasgow Life says it plans to make changes to recruit more staff and has offered advice for anyone struggling with online booking services.
The spokesperson added: “We are currently reviewing and adapting our recruitment strategy to maximize our chances of attracting potential new employees to work for Glasgow Life, while recognizing that we operate in a highly competitive job market.
“We plan to introduce a new rolling recruitment program for swimming staff in the coming weeks, offering a range of full-time and part-time positions and shifts, and we encourage all suitable candidates to apply. .
“We also recognize that not everyone is able to book online, and so customers can also make bookings and inquiries for swimming and other Glasgow Club activities by calling our sites directly. ”