New funding to help keep leisure centres with pools afloat
Posted: Thu, 16 Mar 2023 10:06
Publicly-owned leisure centres with swimming pools have been handed a financial boost following the announcement of a major new fund in today's Spring Budget.
This afternoon, the Chancellor of the Exchequer outlined that £63 million of new money will be made available in a one-year fund.
The fund, which will be managed by Sport England, will allow local authorities to apply for funding for leisure centres with pools that face immediate cost pressures including operational and maintenance costs, and energy bills.
There are more than 2,000 public leisure centres in England, over 800 of which have pools, and these play a vital role in helping communities engage with sport and physical activity. They provide vital services which are not available through other providers.
Tim Hollingsworth, Sport England's chief executive, said it is vital this money goes where it can make the greatest difference.
"This is a significant and welcome amount of support from the Government that will offer a lifeline to many public leisure centres across England as well as help sustain them into the future," he said.
"Swimming pools play a vital role in our communities and are enormously important in helping people to be physically active in their daily lives.
"We know how difficult the present situation is and have been working hard to ensure these providers get the support they need. We'll now turn our efforts to supporting the process in the weeks ahead to distribute the funding made available today to ensure it goes where it is needed the most."
A key aim of the fund will be to help these facilities to become more energy efficient.
In total, £40 million of the fund will be made available for investment in decarbonisation and long-term energy efficiency, while £23 million will help with costs to make these essential local hubs more energy efficient.
Council-run pools, pools run on behalf of councils by private companies and by charities are all eligible for support.