Swimming Pool Support Fund helps facilities prepare for future

Phase II of the fund sees £60 million of exchequer and National Lottery funding split between 325 pools in more than 260 local authorities.

More than 300 swimming pools and leisure centres in England have received grants to help boost their energy efficiency and keep running costs down.

The money has come from the £60.5 million Phase II of the Swimming Pool Support Fund (SPSF) and has been split between 325 pools from more than 260 local authorities.

These grants, which range in size from £3,000 to nearly £1m, have helped to fund projects such as installing solar panels, pool covers, LED lighting and improving insulation.

With the increase in energy costs over recent years, the Government announced the fund a year ago with the intention of both helping keep pools open in the face of financial challenges, as well as funding longer-term projects to help reduce future energy bills.

And with Swim England’s Value of Swimming Report showing water-based activity prevented 78,500 cases of ill health in 2022, our executive director of place hopes today’s announcement will mean a long future for these vital facilities.

“Swimming pools and leisure centres are vital community resources and are enormously important in helping people to be physically active,” said Lisa Dodd-Mayne.

“Many pools have faced a real and significant threat to their survival this year, as local authorities and operators have battled the challenge of increased energy and wider costs, weakened reserves and difficulties with retaining staff.

“Sport England is proud of the role we’ve played in supporting these facilities through this difficult period.

“We hope today’s funding announcement will enable more public pools to improve their energy efficiency to be more environmentally and financially sustainable, so they remain available for future generations to enjoy.”

Swimming Pool Support Fund – Phase II awards

A full list of local authorities and swimming pools/leisure centres to be awarded funding is listed on the article website.

You can also explore the awards in your area by using the interactive map on the article website.

Please note, this list is up to date as of March 2024 and may be subject to some change as local authorities complete technical assessments and begin projects.

This announcement means the SPSF, which now totals more than £80m following our further £20m investment of National Lottery funding into this latest phase, has supported 442 pools in 269 local authorities – accounting for more than 58m swims a year.

Successful applicants needed to outline why their planned interventions were both appropriate and deliverable, while other criteria included an assessment of the expected energy saving, distance from other pools and the strategic importance of each site at a local level.

And Sports Minister Stuart Andrew is pleased to see so many facilities receive funding to help them be more sustainable.

“Millions of people swim every year in England, but increased energy costs mean some pools are struggling financially,” he said.

“I know from personal experience the health benefits of getting down to your local pool, whether that’s just for a few laps, to swim with friends, or a water aerobics class.

“This further £60m of support [in Phase II] from the Government and Sport England will make hundreds of swimming pools more energy efficient, so they can continue to provide the facilities local communities need.”

Other examples of successful applicants from Phase II of the SPSF include:

  • The Pulse (Gloucestershire): received £300,000 to remodel its changing areas and install an air-handling unit to improve energy efficiency.
  • South Woodham Ferrers Leisure Centre (Chelmsford): received over £233,000 for a new gas boiler, as the old one was more than 20 years old, as well as new variable speed pumps to improve efficiency of filtration.
  • Yarborough Leisure Centre (Lincoln): received over £600,000 for new solar panels and variable speed fans.
  • Wem Swimming and Lifestyle Centre (Shropshire): received over £138,000 for better insulation and new solar panels.
  • Leigh Leisure Centre (Wigan): received almost £70,000 for new LED lighting.

Last year, the Government launched its new sport strategy to get 2.5 million more adults and one million more young people meeting the Chief Medical Officer’s guidance of 150 minutes of physical activity per week for adults, and 60 minutes per day for young people by 2030. Find out more about the Swimming Pool Support Fund here.

  • Original Article: Sport England
  • Date: March 2024