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Swim England research reveals almost a quarter of public pools are still closed

New research from Swim England has shown almost a quarter of public pools across the country still remain shut – nearly a month after they were given the green light to reopen.

Pools were closed on Friday 20 March as part of the coronavirus lockdown – and operators had to wait 128 days until Saturday 25 July before they could allow customers in again.

Now insight from the recognised national governing body reveals that while 767 of the 1,002 public accessible pools have reopened in some form, or have published an imminent reopening date, 223 remain indefinitely closed.

The majority (193) still have no confirmed date for when they will open again, 25 are shut for maintenance work, while 15 have been mothballed or confirmed as permanently closed.

It has led to Swim England chief executive Jane Nickerson to reiterate her plea to the Government for more financial support to help struggling facilities reopen doors as part of the #SaveLeisure campaign.

Jane said: “It’s extremely disappointing to see so many public swimming pools remain closed with no confirmed date of when they will reopen.

“These are facilities which allow thousands of people to enjoy the aquatic sports they love or simply as a way of helping them get necessary exercise that might not be possible on land due to physical impairments.

Strong case for all our sports

“They are vital for so many reasons and should not be left to go to ruin.

“Those that are open are trying to survive with considerably less footfall, and we know that many do not know how long they can remain open for without support.

“We have campaigned loudly through #OpenOurPools and #SaveLeisure and remain vigorous in our lobbying of the Government to help out our struggling facilities where the need for financial support is needed more urgently than ever.

“We’ve been working hard to gather the most up to date picture from right across the country so that we can continue to make the strongest case for all our sports.

“The physical and mental health benefits of aquatic activity saves the NHS and social care system far more than any initial support.

“The Value of Swimming research proves that pools are valuable for the user who is healthier and happier, who feels more confident and more connected to their local community.

“Swimming is also valuable to society, saving the public purse at least £357 million per year, and improving community cohesion”.

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