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The Department for Culture, Media and Sport, along with Sports England, has announced a substantial investment of £60.5 million to bolster the long-term financial sustainability

of 325 swimming pools and leisure centres throughout England. This initiative aims to enhance their energy efficiency, thereby reducing operational costs and ensuring their continued operation.

This funding builds upon the success of Phase I of the Swimming Pool Support Fund, which allocated £20 million to nearly 200 swimming pools. With this additional investment, the total expenditure towards enhancing swimming facilities reaches an impressive £80 million.

The measures supported by this funding encompass various energy-saving interventions, including the installation of new heating systems, solar panels, improved insulation, and other energy-efficient upgrades. These enhancements not only contribute to the financial resilience of the facilities but also align with broader environmental sustainability goals.

Recognizing the importance of swimming as a means of staying physically and mentally active, the investment aims to safeguard the more than 58 million annual visits to these facilities. Moreover, with the rising energy costs in recent years, the government's intervention ensures that local pools and leisure centers remain accessible to communities across the country.

Sports Minister Stuart Andrew emphasized the government's commitment to increasing physical activity levels by 2030, underscoring the positive impact of active lifestyles on overall well-being. He highlighted the significance of the additional £60 million in supporting swimming pools to lower their operational costs and continue serving their communities effectively.

The funding allocation process prioritized projects that demonstrated tangible benefits in energy efficiency and operational sustainability. Successful applicants outlined feasible interventions tailored to their facilities, such as insulation, solar panels, and energy-efficient lighting. Moreover, the strategic importance of each site at the local level was carefully considered during the selection process.

The funding initiative received a boost with an additional £20 million from Sport England National Lottery funding, further reinforcing the government's commitment to supporting grassroots sports facilities. Former Team GB Swimmer Michael Gunning praised the investment for its potential to increase access to aquatics and promote physical and mental well-being within communities.

Sport England Executive Director for Place, Lisa Dodd-Mayne, highlighted the crucial role of swimming pools and leisure centers in facilitating physical activity and emphasized the importance of enhancing their energy efficiency for long-term sustainability.

This funding announcement aligns with the government's broader sport strategy, which aims to encourage millions more adults and young people to meet recommended activity guidelines by 2030. By investing in grassroots facilities, including swimming pools, the government seeks to create an environment conducive to active and healthy lifestyles for all. Photo by John Allan, Wikimedia commons.