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Swim England welcomes report urging Government to preserve leisure facilities

A Parliamentary report has said the Government must work with councils to ensure necessary funding is in place to preserve leisure facilities.

The Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee has published its report into the impact of Covid-19 on the sector following an inquiry.

Swim England provided evidence to the committee, which is featured in the report, stressing the urgent need for financial support for swimming pools.

Hundreds of public pools across the country are still yet to reopen and the report shared many of the concerns raised by Swim England.

It states: “We are concerned about gyms and leisure centres.

“These facilities act as community hubs, often providing subsidised facilities to those who most need them, but have been the last sport sector to reopen.

“Following huge levels of uncertainty, it is essential that leisure facilities are protected and have the funds to ensure that the necessary hygiene and social distancing measures can be put in place to re-open fully.

 Huge value

“The worst outcome would be for local authority funding shortfalls to translate into leisure centre closure.

“DCMS’s Sport Working Group must work with local councils to ensure necessary funding is in place to preserve leisure centre facilities.

“This must be done with urgency so that leisure centres are fully operational in August.”

Jane Nickerson, Swim England chief executive, welcomed the response.

She said: “This is an important report which the Government should pay close attention to.

“I am pleased to see the committee recognise the huge value leisure centres and swimming pools provide to communities up and down the country.

“We urgently need this financial support to get them open again so our clubs, swim schools, recreational swimmers and school swimmers can get back in the water.”

Vital role to play

Select Committees check and report on areas ranging from the work of Government departments to economic affairs.

The results of these inquiries are public and many require a response from the Government.

Meanwhile, the Local Government Association has also published a report into the impact of Covid-19 on culture, leisure, tourism and sport.

It urged the Government to ‘continue to provide funding to leisure providers to ensure their viability, not only to the point of facility reopening but beyond’.

It went on to say: “As this research has shown, the impact of Covid-19 on culture, leisure, tourism and sport has been severe and this position is likely to remain challenging in the foreseeable future.

“Nevertheless, this sector has a vital role to play in the nation’s recovery.

“Expenditure on culture and leisure organisations is not a sunk cost – it is an investment in the health and wellbeing of a place and its residents.”

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