District’s swimming pools get £197,000 share of government support fund

After a successful application to Sport England, Tandridge District Council has been awarded £197,000 to help keep its public swimming pools and leisure centres open in the face of increased operating costs.

It was a competitive application process: not all applicants received funding and not all facilities were successful. I am delighted to say that the council has secured the funding for Caterham’s de Stafford Sports Centre and Oxted’s Tandridge Leisure Centre.

The council had to provide information on the operational status of the pools together with evidence of the risk of closure, of the need for the funding, and of future strategic plans. This evidence included:

  • monthly utilities usage and cost.
  • monthly chemical costs.
  • average weekly operational hours of swimming pools for public swimming.
  • participation data on swimming lessons and swimming activities each month.
  • evidence that the facility was at risk of closure in the form of any council minutes or correspondence between the local authority and the leisure provider.
  • evidence of why the provision is of particular importance to community use.
  • steps taken to reduce energy usage and other costs.
  • how the funding will be used to support the provision in the short term and what will happen to the facilities once this funding has been used.

The council is working with Freedom Leisure, which operates the centres, to ensure they remain open and continue to provide essential swimming and leisure activities.

It has been a very challenging time for the centres, with Freedom Leisure stating that, as a result of the energy crisis, they have seen their energy bills more than double. They emphasise that although the additional funding will help, it remains a challenge to maintain swimming pools across the UK and they would like to encourage as many residents as possible to continue to use and support their local community swimming pools.

The £60 million Swimming Pool Support Fund was announced in March. The first £20 million has been allocated to local authorities in England for 196 public swimming pools and leisure centres most at risk of closure or significant service reduction.

If you have any comments/questions, please get in touch at: Cllr.Catherine.Sayer@tandridge.gov.uk

Find Catherine’s other columns here.

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