Funding boost brings energy-efficiency upgrades to swimming pools

Swimming pools at South Kesteven's three leisure centres are set to benefit from energy-saving measures.

Grantham Meres will receive £399,000 for solar panels with a further £46,725 for pool covers to keep the heat in and save energy on warming the water.

The money comes to South Kesteven District Council, which owns the district’s leisure centres, from a successful bid to Sport England's Swimming Pool Support Fund – Phase II (Capital) award.

The investment helps meet a key priority of the South Kesteven Corporate Plan (2020-23), of building Healthy and Strong Communities.

As part of this, the Council is committed to improving the health and wellbeing of our residents by providing high quality leisure provision.

The Swimming Pool Support Fund was established by central Government in recognition of the significant challenges local authorities are facing nationally in continuing to operate public swimming facilities, especially in relation to the higher cost of utilities and pool chemicals.

For those authorities Sport England chose to support, only one centre per local authority can benefit from the funding. To supplement this investment, SKDC will install pool covers at Bourne Leisure Centre and Stamford Leisure pool, funded from the Council's Climate Reserve..

SKDC’s Assistant Director for Culture and Leisure, Karen Whitfield, said: “The Council is committed to encouraging leisure and fitness, both of which can also have a positive impact on people’s mental health.

“Therefore, we are very pleased to have been successful in winning this substantial amount of money when the competition was so fierce from other organisations across the country.

“Supporting our leisure facilities allows all of the South Kesteven community to lead healthy lives by participating in a wide range of activities, with our swimming pools at the top of the list. However, they are one of the most costly facilities to run so this funding is more than welcome.”

A spokesperson for Sport England said: "Requests for Phase II of the Swimming Pool Support Fund has been significant, with over 700 facility applications and a total funding ask of four times what was available.

"Having assessed all the applications submitted against the criteria and objectives of the fund, South Kesteven District Council has been awarded £445,725."

Lisa Dodd-Mayne, Executive Director – Place for Sport England, said: “Swimming pools and leisure centres are vital community resources and are enormously important in helping people to be physically active.  

"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.”

SKDC, through its leisure company LeisureSK Ltd, is responsible for the three leisure centres - in Grantham, Stamford and Bourne.

SKDC received £344,659 from the Swimming Pool Support Fund Phase One back in November, the funding being utilised to offset the increased costs of utilities and pool chemicals for Grantham Meres Leisure Centre and Stamford Leisure Pool in financial year 2023/2024.

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