UK Government

Department for Culture, Media And Sport: Get ready to splash! New-look swimming pools to be completed in first three months of 2010

Press Release   •   Dec 22, 2009 15:51 GMT

Swimmers at public pools across England will enjoy brand-new and revamped facilities in 2010 – thanks to a new wave of investment from the Government’s £140m free swimming initiative that has so far seen young people and senior citizens take more than ten million free swims.

Already seven projects receiving almost £1.6m in capital funding from the scheme have been completed, with new facilities for local people in Corby, Doncaster, Leicestershire (two sites), Lincolnshire, Luton, and Stevenage.

But 2010 is set to be the year when scores of the country’s swimming pools are transformed, with 27 projects receiving more than £7.5m of funding from the Government set to be completed by the end of March – and seven million-pound projects among a further 25 due to come on stream during the rest of the year, or early in 2011.

Altogether £25m is being invested in a first round of construction projects where funding from the free swimming budget is being added to councils’ spending – for schemes as big as helping finance a new pool, as small as paying for new lockers or lighting.

The Departments for Children, Schools and Families and Culture, Media and Sport are providing £25m a year for capital projects to modernise existing pools or build new ones in both the financial years 2009/10 and 2010/11.  Decisions on which will receive funding in 2010/11 will be made public in April.  Three other departments – Health, Work and Pensions and Communities and Local Government – are also contributing to the overall cost of free swimming.

Ben Bradshaw, Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, said:

“These exciting new facilities will benefit swimmers in every corner of the country – equipping towns and cities with pools fit for the 21st Century. But I am confident the building projects we are helping fund will tempt even those who don’t swim at the moment to take to the water. 

“2010 is going to be a great year to swim [in name of region for regional version] – with new and revamped pools helping attract even more young people and over sixties to swim for nothing. Already there have been more than ten million free swims at pools run by 261 local authorities the length of England where we are funding this initiative, working in partnership with local councils of all political colours.”

Schools Sport Minister Iain Wright said:

“Swimming is a fantastic activity that parents and children can do together, or that young people can enjoy with their friends. New and enhanced pools will mean it is even easier for people to go swimming.

“We want every single child to be able to swim well by the time they are 11 years old and we’ve made excellent progress on that aim, with 83 per cent of those leaving primary school able to swim 25 metres unaided.”

Projects set to be completed in the first quarter of 2010, with contribution from the Free Swimming Capital Modernisation Fund are in:

East of England: Refurbishment of fitness pool facilities at Colchester Leisure World (£286,705); improvements to Hudson Leisure Centre in Wisbech (£361,500); improvements to Hadleigh Swimming Pool in Babergh (£185,000).

East Midlands: building new changing rooms for West Park Leisure Centre in Erewash (£455,471); new combined heat and power plant at Enderby Leisure Centre in Blaby (£200,000); modernised changing rooms and pool plant at Hermitage Leisure Centre in North-West Leicestershire (£619,223).

London: refurbishment of changing facilities at the Abbey Sports Centre in Barking and Dagenham (£268,000); modernisation of changing rooms and reception at Hatch End Pool in Harrow (£574,884); modernisation of Brixton Recreation Centre in Lambeth (£350,000); refurbishing changing room facilities at the Vale Farm Sports Centre in Brent (£98,425).

North-East: enhancement of reception, changing rooms and pool hall at Mill House Leisure Centre in Hartlepool (£426,179); extending changing rooms at the Splash leisure facility in Stockton-on-Tees (£82,000)

North-West: modernisation of Horwich Leisure Centre (£177,280) and Farnworth Leisure Centre (£169,682) in Bolton; modernisation of changing rooms at Parr Swimming and Fitness Centre in St Helens (£570,000); modernisation of Broughton Pool in Salford (£460,600).

South-East: modernisation of Woughton Leisure Centre (£98,000), Stantonbury Campus Pool (£235,262) and Middleton Pool (£180,000) in Milton Keynes; modernising the pool at Chalfont Leisure Centre in Chiltern, Buckinghamshire (£184,025); refurbishment of Farnham Sports Centre in Waverley (£383,712).

West Midlands: installation of a moveable boom at Wyndley Pool in Birmingham (£75,075); refurbishing changing rooms and building a new reception area at the Haden Hill Leisure Centre in Sandwell (£384.919).

Yorkshire and the Humber: improved pool plant at the Riddings Pool in North Lincolnshire (£157,175); providing new lighting at the Scott Hall, John Smeaton and Pudsey Leisure Centre pools (£70,000) and modernising changing rooms at Scott Hall (£340,000), all in Leeds; modernisation of changing facilities at the Hoyland Leisure Centre in Barnsley (£115,000).

In addition, projects in all nine English regions will be completed from April onwards – including million pound plus schemes at Ibstock in Leicestershire (£1.18m), Camberwell, London (£1.47m), Waveney in Suffolk (£1.13m), Much Wenlock in Shropshire (£1.02m), Harrow, London (£1.27m), Nottingham (£1m) and Calderdale (£1.04m).

The Free Swimming Capital Modernisation Fund is being administered by Sport England.

Sport England Chair, Richard Lewis, said:

"It's vital that sports facilities meet the highest standards, are welcoming, and cater for everyone if we're going to get more people using them every day. Swimming remains the most popular participation sport in England, so local pools have a major role to play in creating a more sporty nation."

Notes to Editors

Details of seven projects already completed.

- Corby: Corby East Midlands International Pool. £372k invested into this c£19m 50m swimming pool development as part of the regeneration of the town. The Free Swimming capital funding was used to increase the flexibility of the pool by including a moveable floor, and to enhance the changing and access facilities for disabled users.

- Doncaster: Armthorpe Sports Centre. £124,945 invested into improvements to the external car parking to create more spaces for disabled users, and improve pedestrian access to the centre.

- North West Leicestershire, King Edward VII Sports College. £358,541 invested into improvements to the pool hall - wall cladding and poolside tiling - and new showers. These works were completed in October and public sessions have been extended as a result. Phase 2 of the project will complete in the New Year - new boiler, air handling and heat recovery systems.

- Leicestershire, Charnwood Borough Council: South Charnwood Leisure Centre. £400,458 invested into the full refurbishment of the wet-side changing areas, refurbishment pool plant equipment and replacement of the pool hall roof. These works are part of a wider development to provide new fitness and dance studios, additional dry-side changing areas with disabled provision, and improvements to the existing reception, car parking and external areas. An official opening is taking place in January with Olympic swimmer Jo Jackson to attend.

- Lincolnshire: Castle Pool, Spalding. £125,000 invested into new accessible changing accommodation for use by disabled users, schools and clubs; an upgrade of the pool plant and existing changing accommodation, new pool covers, roof insulation and external works to improve access.

- Luton: £120,735 invested into Lea Manor Recreation Centre, to create a new changing village, and an area for dry side swim training/swim education programmes.  The addition of pool hoist has also improved access for disabled users.

- Stevenage: £75,000 grant to improve the existing changing village, providing a safe and secure environment, including the creation of controllable areas for the management of school children and safe poolside zones for parents and general enhancement to the overall appearance.

For further information contact the Department for Culture, Media and Sport press office on 020 7211 6971.


NDS Enquiries
Phone: For enquiries please contact the above department