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Jane Nickerson: Swimming pools are vital … more so than ever before

Swim England News

As pools across the country are gearing up to reopen, Chief Executive Jane Nickerson explains the next challenge facing the sector.

Last November, I was proud to launch our Value of Swimming report at Westminster.

A 24-page document was produced following the most rigorous research ever commissioned by a sporting organisation and highlighted how important aquatic activity was for our nation’s health and wellbeing.

That statement is even more important as we emerge out of the coronavirus lockdown.

However, while many pools are now looking forward to reopening their doors for business for the first time since 20 March, there are many that face an uncertain future.

A key point in the Value of Swimming report stated that ‘pool facilities will need continued investment to ensure people have the opportunity to enjoy the water in the way they choose’.

Extreme sadness

In November, it was clear to see that the number of pools in England was in decline.

Unfortunately, the coronavirus lockdown has exacerbated that worrying problem. Our initial predictions were that 10 per cent of pools may never reopen.

Some reports, however, have suggested that up to 50 per cent of leisure centres could remain closed without financial support. Of course, not all of these have pools however it is still a big concern.

While we should all be looking forward to returning to the water after the Government gave the go ahead for pools to reopen, many people will still be left frustrated as their pool remains closed.

That’s something that fills us all at Swim England with extreme sadness – and something that we can’t simply sit back and let happen.

Aquatic activity has the power to change lives.

Life skill they can enjoy forever

It can bring happiness to those who are suffering with mental health issues.

It offers freedom to those who struggle with physical impairments.

It gives people a life skill they can enjoy forever.

It gives our club members the opportunity to develop their skills in all our aquatic disciplines and compete at all levels.

It gives children the opportunity to explore other water-based activities after learning to swim.

It also helps save the NHS and social care system more than £350 million a year treating a range of conditions.

We need your help again

Swimming pools are vital … more so than ever before.

We’ll continue to lobby the Government to invest in pools, to find the vital funds that can help save the facilities that are at the heart of communities.

When we launched the #OpenOurPools campaign, our members, clubs, coaches, swimming teachers and swim schools supported us in their thousands.

Now, we need your help again.

If your pool is at risk of being mothballed, we’d urge you all to write to your local council or MP and plead with them to think again.

The louder we shout, the harder it will be for the powers that be to ignore us.

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