Almost 50,000 people have pledged their support to Swim England’s campaign to #SaveOurPools. A petition containing 48,928 signatures has been presented to the Government calling on MPs to ‘recognise the particular vulnerability of swimming pools and leisure centres as part of the Energy Bill Relief Scheme Review’. The petition is backed by Catherine West MP, picture, chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Swimming, who echoed the national governing body’s plea that ‘under threat’ pools receive additional help.
Swim England launched the petition on 25 November and chief executive Jane Nickerson said she was ‘overwhelmed and delighted’ with the response in only 19 days. The aim was to show the Government how much pools and leisure centres mean to communities across the country in a bid to prevent a ‘dire’ situation from escalating further.
A number of pools have already temporarily closed due to rising energy costs, with others reducing opening hours or water temperature in a bid to reduce costs while bills soar. Tadcaster Community Swimming Pool, which is run by a charitable trust, was the latest facility to highlight the financial impact the energy crisis is having.Its electricity bill soared from £3,949 in September to £11,140 in October.
The Government is due to announce its review into the Energy Bill Relief Scheme in the next few days and outline whether it will offer businesses further financial support from next April onwards. Jane Nickerson said: “We hope the Government will listen to the nation and offer further help to pools and leisure centres beyond March next year.
“Without that promise of additional financial support, we fear that many more pools will have no option but to close – and it would be an absolute travesty if the Government allowed that to happen.