Swimming pools in South East given funding boost

Swimming pools across Kent, Surrey and Sussex are to benefit from £8m in grants to boost energy efficiency and help keep running costs down.

The cash comes from the second phase of the government's Swimming Pool Support Fund, which will see 325 pools in England given a total of £60.5m.

Funding in the South East will go to 36 pools, with Sunbury Leisure Centre in Spelthorne, Surrey, set to receive the highest grant, at £994,883.

Sport England's executive director, Lisa Dodd-Mayne, said it was hoped the cash would help pools to become more "financially sustainable, so they remain available for future generations to enjoy".

The government announced the scheme last year in the face of financial challenges to leisure centres.

The grant for Sunbury Leisure Centre will fund the installation of solar panels and the replacement of gas boilers.

King Alfred Leisure Centre in Hove, which is set to be redeveloped, will also receive £205,567 from the fund to replace two 40-year-old boilers with more energy-efficient models.

Ms Dodd-Mayne said many pools had faced a "real and significant threat to survival this year" as councils and operators struggled with increased energy and wider costs and difficulties retaining staff.

“Sport England is proud of the role we’ve played in supporting these facilities through this difficult period," she said.

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