It seems that the City Council is very generous to some areas of Oxford. It is going ahead with the closure of Temple Cowley Swimming pool despite a series of petitions signed by tens of thousands of people to retain it.
If you live in Barton, you not only have a great big modern swimming pool and sports centre. In Barton Neighbourhood Centre, which got a £150,000 makeover in 2011, there is a café with free internet access and tea or coffee priced at only 60p.
I am told by a resident that the adult education classes there are free for residents of Barton. Courses in cookery, yoga, keep-fit, computing, hairstyling, health and beauty, dancing and the driving theory test are all laid on for the asking. At the cookery classes even the ingredients are provided free. All you have to do is sign up. Yet many of the places go unclaimed and people who sign up don't always bother to turn up.
I wonder how much all this costs the local council-tax payers. Ruskin College was recently running free short courses in Barton, again for residents, on topics that include basic literacy and mathematics. If you come into another category that includes claimants and asylum-seekers you could also get a free course there last year in word-processing, understanding sign language, or conflict management.
This one day course will help you to understand the background to conflict management and how to stay calm and manage confrontations. It will help you to build your confidence to manage difficult people.
Start date: Friday 16 March 2012
Times: 09:30 - 16:30
Duration: 1 day"
Must be very useful if you aspire to enter the diplomatic service.
When I checked the website of the Risinghurst Community Centre, I found that there were dance and keep-fit classes going on, even self-defence, but most classes cost about £5 per time. Concessionary rate is £3.50. Is this fair?
People who live in Risinghurst, Quarry or Sandhills pay their council tax and are then told they are too filthy rich to need free classes in conflict management. We never seem to get anything except road-blocks, signs, posts and bollards. We are told that there is no money to provide a safe crossing over the A40, and no money to provide free parking for commuters at Thornhill park and ride, yet we can lay on classes in sign-language for asylum seekers. It makes you wonder.