Tuesday, 12 January 2021

complaint about Glenrothes Michael Woods swimming pool management 20 November 2020

back door of Michael Woods leisure centre 20Nov20, 11.31am

outside front entrance of Michael Woods leisure centre 20Nov20, 11.34am

Important Information at Michael Woods leisure centre 20Nov20


Dear Ms Walker (also writing to your PA)

I am writing to complaint about the way I was treated in the Michael Woods swimming pool 20 November 2020, booked to swim at 10.30am, and about the fact there were no staff in the changing rooms to ask what the rules were post Covid19 Lockdown.

I hadn't swam in this pool since well before Lockdown so didn't know the rules for the pool swimming.  Reception staff only told me about no shampoo in showers.  And when I went into the changing rooms there were no staff around to ask about pool rules.  I didn't even know how to get to the pool as the usual way was blocked, and it wasn't obvious.  Other swimmers told me where to go and I walked on my own through what seemed like cupboard spaces then around another closed off pool, various trip hazards along the wall, protruding onto path I walked on.  Had to be careful walking, I only have one good eye and usually wear bifocals, was wearing prescription goggles with just long distance lens.  I could easily have tripped if not very careful, didn't want to fall.

Then when I eventually reached the open pool I immediately spoke to a young lifeguard, asking him why there were no staff in changing rooms on duty, he said they were away doing something else, sorting out a room or suchlike.  Then I noticed there were 3 busy swimming lanes and 2 empty lanes, and headed for one of the empty lanes.  I'm a Carer for my son who lives with me and is socially isolating due to lung issues.  He is prone to pneumothorax, his last operation in 2017, very painful.  Therefore I did not want to swim in a very busy lane when there were 2 empty lanes.

I wear ear plugs at times in swimming pools due to build up of wax and was wearing one that day, swimming up and down, so could not hear anything on side of pool if it was addressed to me.  I swam for 20mins in the empty lane and no-one else joined me, and only latterly did some folk go in the end empty lane but no-one into the lane I was in.

I then got out of pool and showered without using shampoo, noticing that a male swimmer used shampoo in showers opposite me, breaking the rules (manager never called the police out on him).  And after showering just with water I went through to changing room and got dressed.  On coming out of cubicle fully dressed, ready to leave, I was taken aback to see 2 Policewomen waiting just outside changing room to escort me from the premises, telling me I was banned.  I recorded my conversation with the police officers, just audio, told them this, incase I got arrested for no good reason.  I noticed what looked like the Manager standing watching us from the changing room, dressed in shirt, trousers, I didn't know his name although I asked what it was but no-one said.  Many others were watching the police confronting me. 

The policewomen said they had to respond to callouts whether justified or not, and walked me along the corridor, pointed to where the exit was, out a back door, for I didn't know, and then they went out the front door, leaving me to go out myself by the back door, some other swimmers came with me, leading the way around side of building, for I didn't know how to get back to the carpark.  And we saw the policewomen coming out the front entrance of the Michael Woods Centre as we turned the corner where Covid19 testing was going on behind a fence.

As I reached my car and put my swimming stuff in the boot a man drove by in car, wound his window down, said he was a retired policeman, asked if I knew the 3 male swimmers who had accompanied me out the back door and around the building.  I said no.  For I didn't know them, hadn't met them before, either in the pool or changing room or anywhere, they wore face coverings, one of them said he used to work as a lifeguard in there but I couldn't identify him again, his face was covered.  I only used to occasionally swim in the Glenrothes pool, have swam in the Olympia Dundee most days since the summer of 2018, before Lockdown and some of the time since then, inbetween lockdowns. 

I am not happy at being banned from Glenrothes pool for no good reason.  I didn't know the rules and there were no staff on duty in changing room to ask.  I'm not happy at the Police being called out on me, that was excessive force and I don't know why the Manager did this.  He could have spoken to me after the swim, letting me know what the rules were in the pool rather than have me expelled from the premises by the Force and banned for swimming in an empty lane.  I could not understand why that happened.  I don't intend to swim again in the Glenrothes pool, that has put me right off going there.  No staff in changing rooms when there should have been, especially after the male swimmer, student nurse Schickoffer was jailed in 2016 for taking photos of young girls in cubicles at Glenrothes pool over a period of 6 months:


I contend that the Manager of the Michael Woods swimming pool, Glenrothes, that morning 20 November 2020, did not do his job properly, ensuring that staff were on duty in the changing rooms.  That was a dereliction of duty, Health & Safety issue, on his part, not on mine, and I should not have been punished for his failures.  I would like an apology for his actions and assurances that Fife Sports and Leisure Trust will have at least one member of staff on duty at all times in the mixed gender changing rooms of the Michael Woods leisure centre swimming pool.

Copying in my MSP Willie Rennie and regional MSP Alex Rowley, for their information, also Courier Reporter Michael Alexander.

Yours sincerely,

Mrs Muirhead


Chrys Muirhead

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carer, writer, storyteller, swimmer, knitter, cyclist, photographer, gardener, traveller





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