Pools need £ 1billion lifeline as lack of funding threatens sport | United Kingdom | News

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A £ 1billion cash injection is needed from the government otherwise inequalities will widen, health and fitness will suffer and young Adam Peatys may not reach his potential, Swim England said . CEO Jane Nickerson warned, “Without the right investment, millions of people will be left out of the activities they love. “This is why we are calling for a £ 1 billion investment in new and refurbished facilities. “

Swim England estimates that nearly 2,000 swimming pools could close by the end of the decade unless they are replaced or updated.

Jane added, “Pools are essential for the future of all of our water sports if we are to feed the next Adam Peaty, Tom Daley, Anna Hopkin or Maisie Summers-Newton.

“However, they are much more than that. Swimming pools are hubs of the local community, helping people of all ages lead healthier, happier lives and save the NHS hundreds of millions of pounds each year. These are also places where millions of people learn a skill that could save their life or someone else’s.

The Daily Express shed light on the plight of community sport through the Save Our Olympic Dreams campaign.

The pandemic has wrecked the finances of swimming clubs, shutting down swimming pools for months at a time. Lifesaving coach Matt Jagger says they are vital for the safety and health of young people across the UK.

The Chairman of the Leeds Phoenix Life Saving Club said: “Swimming is a great opportunity for fitness and teaching lifesaving skills is so vital.

“We have to make sure that organizations keep functioning. We were about 25 percent below membership when we returned.

“People thought it was just too hard to get back to something after such a long break, or that things had changed in their lives which meant they couldn’t be a part of the rescue anymore.” Leeds Phoenix was closed for 13 months due to Covid and official support funding ran out before they could apply.

Matt, 35, added: “Thousands of kids are on waiting lists to learn to swim, mine included, because there has been so little pool time. The backlog is huge. “

● The Daily Express has partnered with the Made By Sport charity which is donating £ 4million to help clubs in crisis. Made By Sport, supported by lottery operator Allwyn, has helped over 800 community teams.

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Comment from Jane Nickerson

Swimming and water activities have so much to contribute to solving many of the challenges that society faces.

However, we cannot do this without the pools we need for the future.

Our recent Decade of Decline report was alarming as it predicted that 2,000 swimming pools could be lost in England by 2030, unless government and local authorities act quickly to replace or refurbish aging facilities. .

Although the coronavirus pandemic has exacerbated the problem, it is not a direct cause of the terrible prediction.

Swimming pools built in the 1960s and 1970s are nearing the end of their lifespan – and unfortunately, there aren’t enough new facilities being built to replace them.

We hope the government and local authorities will take note and work with us to prevent these ominous predictions from becoming a reality.

Investing in pools makes good financial sense. Older swimming pools are often much less economically viable, regularly placing a strain on already cash-strapped local authorities.

In addition, newer pools can be much greener. With recreation centers currently contributing up to 40% of direct carbon emissions from local authorities, newer and refurbished swimming pools can play a key role in helping the country meet its environmental goals.

With every £ 1 invested in community sport bringing in £ 4 to the economy, investing in sports like swimming offers multiple returns on investment for the government.

Swimming pools are hubs of the local community, helping people of all ages lead healthier, happier lives and save the NHS hundreds of millions of pounds each year.

These are also places where millions of people learn a skill that could one day save their life – or someone else’s – and enable people who cannot exercise on dry land for a variety of purposes. reasons to become active.

Without the proper investment in the new swimming pools this country needs, the future of our sports is threatened, millions of people will be excluded from the activities they love and health inequalities will widen. This is why we are asking for £ 1bn of government investment in new and refurbished facilities.

It’s time to act.

• Jane Nickerson is the Managing Director of Swim England

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