We have been successful in a joint bid with Barnsley Premier Leisure (BPL) for £400,000 from phase one of Sport England's Swimming Pool Support Fund - the highest total in the country.
With energy prices continuing to rise, it has been more difficult for providers like BPL to meet the costs to continue running swimming pools. Securing this funding will help to offset those increased costs, allowing the pools to stay open.
The government's Spring Budget announced the creation of a £63m national fund to help providers with the increased costs. The first £20 million of funding in phase one was earmarked for the swimming pools and leisure centres most at risk of closure or significant service reduction. A further £40m is available in phase two, which is to help improve the energy efficiency of facilities.
Local authorities were invited to apply for the funding on behalf of the eligible pools in their area. We have also applied for funding from phase two and await the outcome of the decision.
Councillor James Higginbottom, Cabinet spokesperson for Environment and Highways, said: “It's fantastic that our joint bid with BPL for this phase one funding has been successful.
“Swimming pools are a crucial community asset which help contribute to physical activity participation rates as well as improving physical and mental health and wellbeing. It's essential that they remain open and affordable.
“This funding will help to safeguard the future of the Metrodome's pools, allowing future generations to learn to swim, which is an important life skill, and enjoy the benefits it brings.”
Michael Hirst, CEO of BPL, added: “We welcome this support from Sport England. It will significantly help BPL offset the formidable increases to our utility bills this year.”
Sport England's Director of Place, Lisa Dodd-Mayne said: “We know just how vital swimming pools and leisure centres are to our nation’s activity levels, which is why Sport England is proud to have played a central role in the delivery of this fund.
“Many pools have faced a real and significant threat to their survival this year, as local authorities and operators battle the challenge of increased energy and maintenance costs, weakened reserves and difficulties with retaining staff.
“Today’s announcement is an important moment in time, but is by no means the end of the work facing us or the support available as we continue to work with our partners to ensure the long-term viability of these vital community resources.”
Sports Minister Stuart Andrew added: “Leisure centres and pools are vital for millions of people to stay fit and healthy, and we know that many public swimming pools are experiencing greater pressure due to increased operating costs.
“We have heard their concerns and have stepped in to help them make ends meet with £20 million immediate relief, and a further £40 million to help improve the sustainability of public swimming pools over the long term.
“This is part of our support for grassroots sports facilities with more than £400 million in order to achieve our ambitious target of getting 3.5 million more people active by 2030.”
For more information about the Swimming Pool Support Fund, visit the Sport England website.