Pit of Despair

Pit 1

After all this week’s talk of Wirral Council’s ambitious plans we thought it be a good time to bring them down from their ivory towers/skyscrapers/ drug-fuelled (?)hallucinations and remind them they need to walk before they can run (up a big bill to be paid for by us).

We say this as we publish this salutary tale about what it’s like to try and report safety concerns about a Council run facility and ask the question as to how, as a society, did we reach the point where someone who wants to raise genuine concerns about the health and safety of children is afraid to do so in case there are repercussions for their family and reprisals for Wirral Council staff? Not for the first time – we despair!

The specific concerns are as follows were originally reported to the local press and local MP ( Margaret Greenwood) :

As a concerned parent of a two year old girl I would like to bring to your attention a concern I have had for a number of weeks now.

I use the swimming facility with my family at Woodchurch, have done for many years. I sometimes, like most parents lift my daughter out of the water and on a count of 3 she jumps into my arms.

On the occasion in question, I was stopped by the lifeguard, he came over to me, asked not to allow my daughter to stand on the side, on the grounds of Health and Safety I initially thought he was stopping me , ridiculously having my daughter jump into my arms and I took issue with the person.

He then pointed out a large drop that runs the length of the pool, highlighting that if she fell she would be seriously hurt. My stomach churned and I felt physically sick. I thanked him.On leaving we highlighted the concern to a staff member, who just stated  : ” Yes I know, its terrible isn’t it? Living local we often see staff out and about and we always exchange pleasantries. On this occasion my husband took it upon himself to further discuss the large drop at the back of the pool. The staff member confirmed it’s a problem , further offered up information that staff on duty are terrified of it also and have been complaining about it for years,also that there have been numerous incidents and accidents and still management will not do anything about it. We asked why, the reply was ” They are all D heads” and also that it will get sorted one day, but it will be too late then.Could you please warn the public of this, as it terrible, It’s just a case of finding the right vehicle to channel a public safety concern , whilst protecting yourself and we have done enough now. Hopefully something will get done.

It’s a sobering thought to think that we’re considered a right vehicle for such concerns – but it would appear we are. For obvious reasons we’re not confident that this issue will be resolved as it has now been raised by a third party as a ‘safeguarding’ concern with Wirral Council social services . However we are reassured that the external agency the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) are now involved.

When we asked our source how they wanted to cover this story they replied :

It’s up to you.It’s all true and don’t want to get staff in trouble by giving too much information as they have already started asking who said what.However everyone is talking about it know . HSE have been out I am informed and condemned it also. So that’s all I can tell you really. Do it if it helps to get it sorted – run it. It’s cost I am told. Cost to protect people just by a cover. Ridiculous!.

When we asked about about our sources thoughts about how difficult it is to raise genuine concerns in the public interest they replied :

Sad society we live in I am afraid .

And so it would appear that giving a damn about children’s safety remains a problem and especially the case if you live or work on Wirral !

Pit 2