Swim England

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Swim England welcomes new fund to help community-run leisure facilities

Swim England has welcomed a new £5 million fund to help community-run leisure facilities recover and reopen following the coronavirus lockdown.

Sport England says its Community Leisure Recovery Fund is targeted at organisations who own or have a long-term lease for a community leisure centre but don’t have any contractual obligation or receive income from a local authority to deliver leisure services.

It covers the period from 1 April to 30 September 2021 and facilities can apply for up to £50,000 from noon on Tuesday 6 April.

Jane Nickerson, Swim England chief executive, said focusing on support specifically for community-run leisure facilities was extremely positive.

She said: “More than 100 swimming pools may be eligible for this fund and as many of them receive very little financial support aside from visitor income, this will be a huge boost to them.

“These facilities are held extremely dear by the people that use them but too many could be at risk of permanent closure because of the impact of the pandemic.

“It’s fantastic that this Sport England fund is available to give them a vital injection of cash and help them remain the beating heart of the community they serve.”

The funding will focus on supporting facilities which provide a general leisure offer – for example, a mix of swimming, sports hall, fitness, health and wellbeing – that’s open to all members of the community.

A spokesperson for Sport England said: “Leisure centres play a vital role in helping people to be active and community-run facilities are an important part of delivering the health, wellbeing and community benefits that come as a result.

“We recognise this funding can’t solve all the challenges facing local leisure services because of the pandemic, but we’re confident this investment will make a significant contribution to reopening valued community assets at a time when they’re needed most.

Bespoke support

“In addition to funding, recipients of the Community Leisure Recovery Fund will also receive bespoke support to help inform their recovery planning, guide improvements, train their workforce and complete coronavirus risk assessments.”

To find out more about the Community Leisure Recovery Fund, which is using £5 million of National Lottery investment, click here.

Meanwhile, the Government has announced that £100 million has now been allocated to 266 local authorities across England to support the recovery of publicly-owned leisure centres, swimming pools and gyms.

The cash will mean that publicly-owned leisure centres, swimming pools and gyms can begin preparations for reopening as part of Step Two of the Prime Minister’s roadmap out of lockdown.

Sports Minister Nigel Huddleston MP said: “We know that local authorities have faced significant financial pressure as a result of the pandemic so this £100 million for leisure will be vital in helping them recover.

“Communities across England rely on their local leisure centre or gym to help them keep fit and healthy and this funding will assist those public facilities to make ends meet.”