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Swim England hands in #OpenOurPools petition to the Government

A petition which now has more than 50,000 signatures has been handed in to the Government to demand an urgent review into the decision not to allow swimming pools to reopen.

Swim England launched the #OpenOurPools campaign after swimming pools were not given the go-ahead to reopen in the latest easing of the coronavirus lockdown.

It was expected that pools and other leisure facilities would be given the go ahead to open doors again on 4 July.

However, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said they must remain closed when he announced relaxing some of the measures that had been introduced on 20 March to help combat the spread of coronavirus.

Swim England immediately launched its #OpenOurPools petition calling for the Government to announce a date when pools may open again without delay.

It has been signed by more than 50,000 people in the space of seven days and a petition letter was sent to the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, Oliver Dowden.

Presenting the petition to the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport were Phil Brownlie, Swim England Head of Public Affairs, Catherine West MP, the chairperson of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Swimming, para-swimming world champion Brock Whiston, international water polo player Elliot McHugh and Cara O’Toole, a Swim England talent pathway swimmer from Hillingdon Swimming Club.

A huge thank you

Phil said: “On behalf of Swim England, I would like to say a huge thank you to everyone in the swimming community and beyond who has supported the #OpenOurPools campaign and signed the petition.

“We’ve worked alongside public health and industry experts to produce detailed guidance about how a safe return to the water can be implemented.

“So many people rely on swimming for a variety of physical and mental health reasons and it’s vital we get them open safely as soon as possible so people can enjoy the many benefits being in the pool can bring.”

Ms West added: “The huge number of people who have joined the campaign in such a short period of time shows the strength of feeling on this issue, and just how important the water is to people.

“I’m pleased to be backing Swim England’s #OpenOurPools campaign and will continue to put pressure on the Government to do the right thing and reopen swimming pools without delay.”

Whiston, who swims for Barking and Dagenham Aquatics Club in London, said: “The Government has constantly talked about the importance of physical activity during the coronavirus lockdown, yet swimming pools, which are the only environment many people can easily exercise in, remain shut.

“It’s a huge shame that millions of people are still missing out on taking part in the sports they love when Swim England has shown it can be done in a safe and controlled way.

“I hope the Government take notice of the petition and reconsider the decision so we can all get back into the water as soon as possible.”

Swim England chief executive, Jane Nickerson, said: “We are delighted but not surprised by the togetherness of the aquatics community to get our pools reopened.

“As we continue to work towards this goal we are aware that stage three reopening has been affected in one city by a localised lockdown.

“However, we still call for swimming pools nationally to be given a date for reopening – alongside other sectors already named – allowing our facilities to plan for the date when they can welcome people through their doors again”.

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