Torbay Council have worked in partnership with Parkwood Leisure and Lex Leisure, operators of the Rivera International Centre (RIC), to secure £140,321 from the Government’s Swimming Pool Support Fund (SPSF).
This vital funding will help to support the RIC at a time of increased operating costs to ensure the swimming pool remains open and affordable to the community.
The SPSF provides a total of £60 million to local authorities in England. The fund provides a support package for public leisure facilities with swimming pools.
The application process and fund allocation are split into two phases:
· Phase I – Revenue: £20m is available to support facilities with swimming pools with increased cost pressures. This phase aims to prevent swimming pool closure or significant service reduction.
· Phase II – Capital: £40m is available from the government for capital investment. This phase aims to improve the energy efficiency of public facilities with pools in the medium to long term.
Successful local bids for Phase I or Phase II funds will help support Torbay Council’s Torbay on the Move strategy. Torbay on the Move aims to support and encourage residents to be more active. Keeping our local swimming centres open helps to drive a healthier, happier Torbay and create an active culture.
Cllr Hayley Tranter, Cabinet Member for Adult and Community Services, Public Health and Inequalities, said: “We are delighted to announce the successful bid for funding to support the Riviera International Centre and healthy lifestyles in Torbay.
“Swimming pools are a vital resource for our communities, providing a range of recreation from fun with the family to swimming lessons and high-level sports training. These activities offer improved physical health and also provide significant benefits to mental health.
“The Swimming Pool Support Funding will help to maintain local swimming facilities and protect opportunities for active and healthy lifestyles in Torbay.”
On behalf of Torbay Council, Parkwood Leisure, one of the UK’s leading leisure facilities operators, in partnership with Lex Leisure, has been managing the Riviera International Conference Centre in Torquay since April 2021.
Glen Hall, Managing Director of Parkwood Leisure, said: “I am delighted that this vital support has been secured to enable continued provision of swimming opportunities in Torquay.
“Learning to swim is an essential life skill, particularly in a coastal location such as Torquay, and swimming is a great way of maintaining an active lifestyle, which is so important to the health and wellbeing of the whole community.
“I am really grateful to the Council and our partners Lex Leisure, for all of the work that has gone into a successful application.”
Lisa Dodd-Mayne, Sport England’s Director of Place, said: “We know just how vital swimming pools and leisure centres are to our nation’s activity levels, which is why Sport England is proud to have played a central role in the delivery of this fund.
“Many pools have faced a real and significant threat to their survival this year, as local authorities and operators battle the challenge of increased energy and maintenance costs, weakened reserves and difficulties with retaining staff.
“Today’s announcement is an important moment in time, but is by no means the end of the work facing us or the support available as we continue to work with our partners to ensure the long-term viability of these vital community resources.”
Unfortunately, other local swimming pools were unsuccessful in their Phase I applications. These include Swim Torquay and Admiral Swimming Centre in Brixham. Both centres, alongside the Rivera International Centre, will be applying for Phase II funding to help sustain their futures.
The objectives of Phase II – Capital of the SPSF are to:
· Reduce the energy consumption level of facilities to improve their future sustainability.
· Minimise the closure of swimming pool provision to prevent future gaps in public leisure provision.
· Reduce the carbon output of facilities in receipt of funding in line with the government’s Net Zero by 2050 objectives.
· Prioritise support in those areas of greatest socio-economic need, where all other factors are equal.
Applicants will be notified of the outcome of the Phase II funding award decision by the end of January 2024.
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