Concern about 'Brockwell Swimmer' club proposal

I originally wrote the message below as a comment on the story about a new Swimmers Club for Brockwell. Rather than answer the points I make, the author, ‘the Brockwell Swimmer’, unpublished the original story, which had the effect of making my comment disappear. He failed to address the serious concerns about the new club he is proposing to set up and has disabled the comment facility. So concerned am I about the situation, that I am writing this in my own right. I welcome comments and promise not to unpublish anything. This is what got censored:

 

If you want to hold an open, public meeting to adopt the constitution for a new club, it is customary to advise that precise fact as widely as possible. I keep a lookout on social media and on the Herne Hill Forum website, as well as in local shops, and saw no notice saying that Brockwell Swimmers proposed to adopt a constitution on 27 January 2016. If in fact there were no such specific notices, how can the constitution be said to have been properly i.e. legally ratified? And how can officers and committee members be duly elected if there is no public notice that that is what is proposed? It becomes the appointment of self-selecting chums rather than a democratic election.

 

Nowhere on the Brockwell Swimmers website can I find the minutes of the meeting of 27 January 2016, indicating the numbers of members present, the method by which the constitution was adopted and any discussion thereon. Nor is there any record I can find of the elected officers and committee mentioned in this message to the Herne Hill Forum.

 

The problem all along with Brockwell Swimmers has been that it is a one-man band, more Brockwell Swimmer than Brockwell Swimmers. Its terms and conditions, which have to be accepted by all members, specifically confirm that fact: “The term ‘BrockwellSwimmers.com’ or ‘us’ or ‘we’ refers to the owner of the website.”

 

The lifeblood of a club is its members, but there are two serious questions about membership here:

1 This message to the Forum says membership is free, but section 4a of the constitution says ‘the annual Member’s subscription shall be set by the Committee’. Section 3c also mentions ‘the annual subscription fee’. Presumably, the constitution overrides any message to the Herne Hill Forum, so, actually, membership is not free.

 

2 Section 3a says ‘Membership is limited to swimmers who regularly use the Brockwell Lido pool’, which is clear, but 3d says ‘the Committee may decide whether or not to reject an application for membership’. Appeals against rejection are decided by … the Committee that rejected it in the first place. Judge and jury in its own case; that is not best practice in a democratic institution.

 

There is already an excellent, longstanding group, Brockwell Lido Users, with an constitution openly adopted after long notice, openly advertised meetings, full minutes and democratically elected officers.

 

Apart from the vanity of one person, I wonder whose interests Brockwell Swimmers serves.

 

Peter Bradley, a daily swimmer in Brockwell Lido

Comments

I agree with everything Peter Bradley says.  The way this has emerged makes a mockery of claims to "inclusivity".  I hope and expect that people who have the good luck and good taste to live in and around Herne Hill can readily see it for what it is.

I would like to add my name to the above comments on "Brockwell Swimmers". I have asked the person responsible to remove my details from his mailing list on more than one occasion. He has failed to do this. This may indicate his level of integrity.

Over the past c.18 months the 'Brockwell Swimmer' has been associated with considerable bad feeling among the otherwise peaceful and harmonious lido community (including swimmers, staff and the Brockwell Lido Users (BLU) group).
The fact that this individual needs to hold 'elections' for his club in secret, put convoluted rules into the club's 'constitution' to ensure he can't get voted off by his own committee, block the comments function to his article on this website etc - is indicative of how many people he has come into conflict with at the lido.
The Brockwell Swimmer actually puts me off swimming. For example, on the day of the gala last winter I avoided the lido altogether, such was the stress and upset leading up to the event. I also won't be taking part in the synchronised swimming classes this summer now that I know The Brockwell Swimmer plans to participate. These are my choices, but I'm not the only one.
I think there could be scope for a swimming club at the lido but I strongly feel that the Brockwell Swimmer should not be the one to do it. Maybe Fusion, the lido managers, could employ someone suitable?

Brilliantly well put. The jealousy fuelled antics of one vindictive individual, who deliberately sets out to destroy the tranquillity of the lido and miss represent the "Brockwell name" is scandalous. 

The Brockwell Swimmer clearly has endless enthusiasm and has put a lot of work into his website & the events he himself runs - nothing wrong with that.

Except that - unlike other swimming groups who use the Lido (eg Windrush, Streamline) - his website seems expressly designed to imply that it represents all Swimmers and users of the Lido.

This makes me uncomfortable for two reasons:

1) There is (as mentioned by others) already a democratically accountable Lido users group (BLU). The Brockwell Swimmer tried & failed by a large majority at the AGM to be elected to the BLU committee, so it could be argued that he really does NOT represent either swimmers or Lido users.

However, many people whose first contact with Brockwell Lido is via the 'Brockwell Swimmers' website are under the false impression that it is the official website for the Lido. The layout & wording of the website imply that all swimming events happen under the 'Brockwell Swimmers' umbrella, which is far from true and does a disservice to the hard work of Brockwell Lido staff and management.

2) On a personal level, as someone who loves swimming at Brockwell Lido but who really does NOT want to be represented by the (unelected) Brockwell Swimmer, I feel really uncomfortable that the Brockwell Swimmers 'brand' assumes the support of any and everyone who swims at Brockwell. Again, this is very far from being true.

My personal choice is to avoid any event or activity which appears under the Brockwell Swimmers banner, and I have asked the individual involved to respect this.

I'm another who has on occasion just decided to swim elsewhere until the politicking dies down, and can think of at least one formerly regular swimmer who as I understand it, simply no longer swims at Brockwell. 

...or Water Polo, or Swimming Galas, or Synchronised Swimming lessons which (according to the Brockwell Swimmer website) now seems to be organised by Brockwell Swimmers and not Susan who has run the Synchro sessions for the last couple of years.

But there is more to this, and it isn't very nice, and there are now people who no longer feel comfortable swimming at Brockwell Lido, which is a shame as it's a wonderful place which we are lucky to have on our doorstep. 

Windrush & Streamline - and Brockwell Lido itself - seem able to organise events:  eg the Summer Races, Christmas Day Swim, taking part in the Fun Palace etc without badgering people - who have expressly asked to be left alone - to join in.

There's room for a swimming club if people want one (Windrush & Streamline aren't swimming clubs, they have a different role) - but not one like this.

Milka, still hiding behind that name? Who are you?

Suppose your one of the BLU cronies protecting your own interests.

How dare you 'give me permission' to join Brockwell Swimming events.

Who are you?

It was just a (heartfelt) request.

Who are you?

For what it's worth, I have no interest in BLU apart from attending the AGM when I can, but I do love swimming at the Lido - it's a place of calm & tranquility (when the Brockwell Swimmer isn't up to his mischief) and what some people want from a swim is just... to be left alone to swim

Milka still slagging people off I see. Arrogant.

Maybe if you just want to be alone you should get your own pool!

Its a public pool. Get real.

More Water Polo, yes to Gala, and more fun TOGETHER!!!!!

Including the people who have simply asked the Brockwell Swimmer to leave them alone to swim.

We don't all want to swim 'TOGETHER!!!!' - some do & that is absolutely fine, but some people come to swim for a little bit peace & quiet in their lives & to have one place in their lives where they are NOT badgered & pressured into joining in with things.

P.S. Can you show me where I have 'slagged you off'?

Your all hiding behind your silly names and slagging off "The Brockwell Swimmer".

That's just not fair.

Some of us want more events.

It's a BIG pool, loads of room for all of us.

Stop trying to have it all for yourself.

TheHodge, it is precisely the kind of idiosyncratic juvenile comments that you now expouse to someone who is expressing their own view imo extremly politely, that gives rise to the depth of feeling against everything that Brockwell Swimmers are doing. Manners cost nothing but discourtesy nowadays reigns supreme it would seem. Such a shame.

Brockwell LidoWhy has such a small group been allowed to stop so much?

As the person who originally took the photograph, I'd just like to be clear that it has been posted without my permission nor that of the subjects. I'd politely request the author to remove the picture immediately, along with the deliberately misleading caption.