Swimming pools funding boost for running costs

Newquay Leisure World pool
Bosses said the fun pool at Newquay Leisure World would still close over the winter despite the funding announcement

More than 20 leisure centres in Devon and Cornwall have been given a share of £20m of government funding to help with increased operational costs.

The scheme targeted centres in England with the highest risk of closure or significant reduction in services.

Seven facilities in Cornwall will get a cash grant along with six in Devon.

Greenwich Leisure Limited (GLL) described it as a "great success" but said the money only went some way towards coving its deficit.

James Curry, GLL's head of service for Cornwall, said although he was "delighted" centres in Cornwall had been awarded £449,000, a lot of it had "already been spent on utility costs".

He said: "It by no means covers the deficit we have... It will certainly plug the gap and will certainly prevent us from closing any swimming pools this year."

James Curry
James Curry said the funding meant GLL would not have to close any pools in Cornwall

He said a decision taken earlier in 2023 to close one of the pools at Newquay Leisure World over the winter would not change following the funding announcement, as it made "commercial and business sense" and was the "responsible" thing to do to save costs.

The grants aim to support facilities facing rising energy, maintenance and pool chemical costs.

The government said operating costs alongside general inflationary pressure had increased considerably over recent months, with local authorities facing greater challenges to make ends meet.Sports minister Stuart Andrew said leisure centres and pools were "vital for millions of people to stay fit and healthy".He added: "This is part of our support for grassroots sports facilities with more than £400m in order to achieve our ambitious target of getting 3.5 million more people active by 2030."

Cornwall's leisure centre grants include:Bodmin Leisure Centre- £72, 430Helston Sports Centre- £35,249Liskeard Leisure Centre - £75,973Newquay Leisure World - £87,212Saltash Leisure Centre - £74,659St Ives Leisure Centre - £103,645Normandy swimming Pool, Isles of Scilly - £20,499Devon's leisure centre grants:Plymouth Life Centre - £50,000Plympton Swimming Pool - £50,000Bovey Tracey Swimming Pool - £5,600Buckfastleigh Open Air Pool - £2,500

Moretonhampstead Swimming Pool - £683Riviera International Centre - £140,321

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