COLUMN: We must stay fighting fit

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Physical activity is vitally important for both physical and mental health, whether that activity is organised sports, a gentle swim, gardening or a walk in the park. Sport England state that one in six deaths is caused by inactivity.

The value of good local leisure facilities shouldn’t be under-estimated; decent leisure centres, swimming baths and parks are vital to our health and wellbeing, and they are especially needed in areas such as Mansfield and district, where shockingly, life expectancy is almost a decade less than the national average.

We have some fantastic community groups, like the Friends of Pleasley Community Orchard who have created an orchard in what was a piece of under-used land in the middle of Pleasley. This is a public space where local people will tend the trees and pick their own fruit, it will be wonderful to see the trees in blossom next spring. This project is a great example of people working together to create a lasting asset for the area, it will be a focus for many local community events, and will be a space for relaxing, learning and having fun!

Warsop councillors and local residents have been fighting to save Meden Sports Centre for several years, but sadly, now it seems that the mayor and her executive are considering permanently closing the facility. If Meden Baths closes, it will be a huge loss to the local area. The building is in need of replacement or renewal, but the swimming and sports centre is an important community asset, and all options for funding this must be explored.

Your Warsop Labour district councillors Sharron Adey, Andy Burgin, John Kerr and Andy Wetton have a Meden Baths petition which has already collected over 1000 signatures and we urge you to sign this, and to talk to them about how we can work together on this vital campaign. There will be a consultation period running until the end of January, and we hope the community’s views will be listened to.

Getting active matters, and decent leisure facilities are essential.

l Sonya Ward is leader of Mansfield Labour Group