In response to the ongoing challenges faced by the YMCA St Anne’s swimming pool, Fylde Council’s Executive Committee has approved a one-year additional subsidy payment of £59,189.
The YMCA St Anne’s Swimming Pool is the only swimming facility owned by Fylde Council, and the YMCA is operationally responsible for providing its leisure services. Annually, the council grants a subsidy to sustain these operations, with the subsidy for the year 2023/24 amounting to £141,000. The recently approved additional subsidy will be provided on top of the existing funding.
The wider leisure industry, including swimming pools, has been severely impacted by the pandemic’s closure and the recovery has been challenging.
The COVID-19 pandemic required the facility to close its doors in March 2020, reopening fully only in May 2021. The subsequent 18 months proved to be a challenging period as the YMCA worked diligently to rebuild its membership base and income levels. Although commendable progress has been made in the recovery, increased costs, particularly in energy, offset any additional income.
These concerns are not unique to St Anne’s Swimming Pool. A recent Swim England report cautions that approximately 2,000 swimming pools in England could face closure by 2030 without urgent government intervention, potentially resulting in a 40% reduction in quality facilities.
Cllr Jayne Nixon, Lead Member of Tourism, Leisure and Culture, said: ‘The YMCA St Anne’s swimming pool has long been a cherished resource for our community. This additional subsidy is a testament to our commitment to ensuring that our residents have access to swimming provisions. It’s essential that we maintain this facility, especially given the challenges it has faced over the past few years, and the increased number of schools who use this pool since Kirkham closed almost two years ago.
Swimming benefits both physical health and mental wellbeing, and our commitment to support the operation of this facility reflects our dedication to these priorities, aligning with the government’s emphasis on exercise and wellbeing.’
The decision to provide this one-year subsidy is a vital step in maintaining the existing provision at St Anne’s, addressing the deficit caused by energy, labour, cost of living, and general price increases. Fylde Council remains committed to supporting the YMCA St Anne’s swimming pool, ensuring that this valuable community resource continues to serve the residents of Fylde.