Southwark residents will be able to use the swimming pool and gym at a ‘refreshed’ Seven Islands Leisure Centre for free if a Labour administration is re-elected in May.

“Helping people in Southwark to lead healthy and active lives is one of Labour’s top priorities and our pledge to deliver free swimming and gym use to all Southwark residents will make it easier for people in the borough to get fit and healthy,” said Cllr Peter John, leader of Southwark Labour.

“This ground-breaking pledge will make a real difference to Southwark residents.

“I recognise that we will be implementing this proposal against a tough economic backdrop, but I believe that it must be an absolute priority of the council to help people in Southwark lead healthy lives.”

Labour says it will review how leisure is funded in Southwark, looking across the board at the structure of the council’s fees and charges, including how users from outside the borough are charged for council leisure centres.

Southwark’s leisure centres are managed and operated by Fusion whose contract is due to come to an end in 2016.

In neighbouring Lambeth the Labour Party made a similar pledge to offer free swimming at the 2010 borough elections but later backtracked on the promise, blaming central Government funding cuts.

Southwark Lib Dems recently unveiled a manifesto commitment to rebuild the Southwark Park Lido if they win back control of the borough in May.

There’s been a lot of political argy-bargy between Labour and the Lib Dems about future plans for Southwark Park’s athletics track in recent months.

This week the (Labour) cabinet approved the borough’s updated capital programme which includes £2.63 million for works at the track.

Here’s what the report to cabinet says:

Investment is requested for the refurbishment of the existing building at Southwark Park Sports Complex to provide suitable changing and ancillary facilities to support athletics development and the needs of Southwark Park users. The facility is currently in poor condition both internally and externally, and does not deliver in terms of what would be expected of a community sports facility.

Usage figures of this facility are dropping. In the first quarter of 2013 only 95 attendances were recorded.

External funding has been secured for the refurbishment of the athletics facilities (track and field), and the building refurbishment will compliment this by providing quality supporting facilities. The site, following investment, will focus on grass- roots athletics and the development of a Southwark athletics club. Sports development activities will be led by Southwark’s Athletics Activator. There is also an aspiration for the facility to deliver a disability sports programme. Overall £3m will be required of which £370k has already been allocated as part of the OLF programme.

Funding will enable the delivery of a refurbished pavilion including changing facilities for athletics and for sport in the park, specialist athletics coaching facilities and a small gym focusing on support athletics training.

The event – held at Canada Water Library – was devised by torchbearer Kevin Steward and past Mayor of Southwark Cllr Althea Smith (who served as the borough’s first citizen during London 2012).

Dignitaries including Deputy Mayor of Southwark Sunil Chopra welcomed representatives from the Brazilian embassy, British Olympic Association, British Paralympic Association and legendary paralympian Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson to help congratulate Southwark’s young people and look to Rio 2016.

Certificates were then presented to London Youth Games medallists and young 2012 volunteers who have continued their work in Southwark since the games.

Councillor Veronica Ward, cabinet Member for Culture, Leisure, Sport, Volunteering and Olympic Legacy said: “We are really pleased to be able to celebrate the achievements of all our young people and their contribution to Southwark since the Olympics. Whether it has been through volunteering for events, giving young people a voice or taking part in the sports themselves, all have become an inspiration to their peers – something we would like to thank and congratulate them for. It was also wonderful to see the signed flags given to Rio as a sign of friendship to children in Brazil from Southwark.”

Councillor Dora Dixon-Fyle, Cabinet Member for children’s servicesm said:”Our children and young people in Southwark have made a tremendous contribution to the local community and our visitors. This event was about recognising those young people who not only took part during 2012 but that have continued to volunteer in their community since.”

Kevin Steward, a London 2012 Olympic torch bearer for Southwark, added: “This event is for the children of Southwark and is something which has never been done before in Olympic legacy history. We hope that these flags will serve as a symbolic reminder of how everyone, especially the children, in the host city is involved in the magic of the Olympic and Paralympic Games.”

Liberal Democrat London Assembly member Caroline Pidgeon has tabled the following question to Boris Johnson for next week’s Mayor’s Question Time.

I have been contacted by Tideway Sailability in Southwark who still have not been paid by the GLA for the FreeSport activities they delivered in 2012. Can you please ensure that this, small volunteer run, organisation are paid their grant?

Mr Johnson’s answer will be published later this month.

Proposals have been announced that would see Fisher FC return to Rotherhithe as part of a new development involving the disused Surrey Docks Stadium and St Paul’s playing field sites.

Fairview New Homes  have agreed to buy the freehold of the former Surrey Docks Stadium from receivers appointed by Ulster Bank. Fairview are proposing a development of the stadium site, and a linked development of St Paul’s playing field on Salter Road , that would see the disused playing field site turned into a brand new football facility that would serve as a home ground for Fisher FC.

On the site of the Surrey Docks Stadium, home to Fisher Athletic until 2004, a landscaped community park will be created while there will be a residential development on the ‘yard’ area of the stadium site.

At the AGM of Fisher Society Ltd last week Fisher members gave unanimous support to the proposals.

Welcoming the members’ decision, Fisher FC chair Ben Westmancott commented: “After nearly a decade in exile from our Bermondsey and Rotherhithe home, and four years after reforming Fisher as a supporter-owned club, we now have a fantastic opportunity to bring Fisher FC back home and to establish a base at the heart of our community.”

The planned facility at St Paul’s would form a home not just for Fisher’s first team but also for the many youth teams that the club runs. A state of the art 3G pitch would be installed, to help ensure that the wider community also benefits from the investment. Mr Westmancott explained:

“We’ve had really positive discussions with officers at Southwark Council, who own the freehold of the St Paul’s site, and they have assured us that the new facility will be Fisher’s home. But they are also clear that the benefits that this investment will bring must be shared with the wider community. We completely support their position on this, and as a club one of our constitutional objectives is to enable wider participation in football in our community.

“With those aims in mind, a 3G pitch is a necessity. A number of clubs have shown just how well they can work including Maidstone United, and we will be able to use the surface in the league as well as the FA Vase, and FA Cup qualifying rounds.”

While Fairview New Homes Ltd will be providing £500,000 funding for the development, via payments made to Southwark Council, there will still be a requirement for Fisher and Southwark Council to access additional grant funding to ensure that the anticipated total cost of circa £0.75M can be covered. Mr Westmancott explained:

“Fisher will need to a make a financial contribution to the development and there is now lots of hard work to do to access the opportunities we have identified for grant funding – and the club will also be undertaking fund raising initiatives.

“The development is of course subject to obtaining planning permission, and even if everything goes according to plan we still have two more tough years to survive by ground-sharing. We need our members, supporters and friends in the community to come together and help us get through these two seasons while we work hard on making a new home on Salter Road a reality.

“I’d like to put on record our thanks to Fairview New Homes Ltd and Southwark Council who have worked positively and constructively with us over the last few months. We have also received outstanding practical support from Supporters Direct, the national organisation that supports and encourages fan-ownership of football clubs.”

Simon Hughes MP said: “There will no doubt still be discussion and further developments of the plans for Fairview New Homes to develop the old Fisher Football Club ground in Salter Road.

“But the dramatic disappearance into administration of the company which was Fisher’s previous owner has given a great chance for the Fish to return to Salter Road, although on a new site on St Paul’s playing fields.

“The club, the council and Fairview are to be congratulated on working together to give a great new opportunity for a new start for Fisher in Rotherhithe.

“All being well a good deal can be done in the months ahead which will deliver a decent number of affordable homes, new green space and above all a new and welcoming home for the much loved Fisher Football Club.”

An open-air swimming pool will be installed in the Decathlon car park this summer for the second year running.

On weekdays a programme of low-cost swimming lessons will be offered as part of the Mayor of London’s Make a Splash programme and at weekends Decathlon cardholders can use the pool for free.

The Big Summer Splash begins on 10 June and will run for 12 weeks.

It’s free to sign up for a Decathlon card.

Think there’s nothing games-related happening in SE16? Think again.
The Swedish Seamen’s Church in Lower Road has opened Cafe Svensson during the games

The Nordic churches came together for a special Olympic service at Southwark Cathedral on Sunday

Crown Prince Haakon of Norway visited St Olav’s in Rotherhithe on Monday

The Palau Olympic delegation will visit Rotherhithe this weekend to pay their respects at the tomb of Prince Lee Boo.