MORE THAN 300 English swimming pools are celebrating after their funding win.

A whopping 325 swimming pools and leisure centres in England have received grants to help boost their energy efficiency and keep running costs down. The money has come from the £60.5 million Phase II of the Swimming Pool Support Fund (SPSF).

The grants, which range in size from £3,000 to nearly £1m, will help to fund projects such as installing solar panels, pool covers, LED lighting and improving insulation. With the increase in energy costs over recent years, the Government announced the fund a year ago with the intention of both helping keep pools open in the face of financial challenges, as well as funding longer-term projects to help reduce future energy bills.

With Swim England’s Value of Swimming Report showing water-based activity prevented 78,500 cases of ill health in 2022, our executive director of place hopes today’s announcement will mean a long future for these vital facilities. “Swimming pools and leisure centres are vital community resources and are enormously important in helping people to be physically active,” said Sport England’s Lisa Dodd-Mayne.

“Many pools have faced a real and significant threat to their survival this year, as local authorities and operators have battled the challenge of increased energy and wider costs, weakened reserves and difficulties with retaining staff. “Sport England is proud of the role we’ve played in supporting these facilities through this difficult period.

“We hope today’s funding announcement will enable more public pools to improve their energy efficiency to be more environmentally and financially sustainable, so they remain available for future generations to enjoy.” The Fund, which now totals more than £80m following a further £20m investment of National Lottery funding into this latest phase, has supported 442 pools in 269 local authorities – accounting for more than 58m swims a year.

Successful applicants needed to outline why their planned interventions were both appropriate and deliverable, while other criteria included an assessment of the expected energy saving, distance from other pools and the strategic importance of each site at a local level. Sports Minister Stuart Andrew is pleased to see so many facilities receive funding to help them be more sustainable.

“I know from personal experience the health benefits of getting down to your local pool, whether that’s just for a few laps, to swim with friends, or a water aerobics class. “This further £60m of support [in Phase II] from the Government and Sport England will make hundreds of swimming pools more energy efficient, so they can continue to provide the facilities local communities need.”