Plan to reopen Gateshead Leisure Centre gets £105,532 funding boost

Gateshead Leisure Centre
It is hoped the boarded-up leisure centre will reopen on 31 December

Plans to reopen a leisure centre have moved a step closer thanks to a government funding boost.

Gateshead Leisure Centre closed in July due to council budget cuts.

Now plans to reopen it on 31 December have moved a step closer thanks to funding of £105,532 from the Swimming Pool Support Fund.

The money will go to Gateshead Active, a community-led organisation, after it has completed an asset transfer for the centre with Gateshead Council.

The Prince Consort Road centre has been awarded its share from a £20m government funding pot to help keep 200 under-threat swimming pools across England open.

Former British Olympic swimmer Mark Foster, who backed plans to reopen Gateshead Leisure Centre, said: "Swimming pools are at the heart of communities and there are so many reasons why this funding to keep almost 200 open in England is so important."

Mark Foster
Mark Foster said swimming pools were at the "heart of communities"

Blaydon Leisure Centre, which is run by Gateshead Council, has also been awarded £187,100.

Hetton Community Pool in Sunderland will also get almost £69,000 and Gosforth Leisure Centre in Newcastle will receive £23,600.

Gateshead Active's chairman, former Labour councillor Robert Waugh, told the Local Democracy Reporting Service that the funding was "absolutely fantastic".

"This is something we were hopeful for, but certainly not expecting. Even if we did get something, we were not expecting it to be this much," he added.

"To have a six-figure boost in the months before we open is huge for us and it gives us a bit more flexibility in our first year."

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