Leisure centres go green after £400k funding boost

Solar panels will be installed to reduce energy use and cut carbon emissions.
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The swimming pool at Jesmond Pool and Gym

Two Newcastle leisure centres will become more energy and cost efficient after the city council secured more than £400,000 in government funding.

Sport England announced Elswick Community Pool and Gym has been awarded £231,141, while Jesmond Pool and Gym has received £179,198.

Newcastle City Council successfully bid for the funding as part of the second phase of the Government’s Swimming Pool Support Fund.

The money will be spent on installing solar panels on the roofs of the leisure centres, which will reduce energy use, save money on bills and cut carbon emissions.

Their swimming pools will also receive new pool covers to help minimise heat loss.

Matt Wilton, Deputy Chief Executive at Newcastle City Council, said: “Securing this funding to make the leisure centres more energy efficient is fantastic news and is another significant step towards us meeting our net zero ambitions.

“We know older buildings are among the most challenging to reduce energy consumption in the city so it's important we do everything we can to cut their carbon emissions as quickly as possible.

“We look forward to working with the leisure centres to deliver these exciting projects, which will help ensure they remain at the heart of our communities for years to come.”

A spokesperson for Elswick Community Pool and Gym said: “Our board of volunteer trustees and staff have been working with the council to support the application and we are delighted to be awarded funding to help with our energy costs and consumption.

“Over the last few years during the energy crisis we have seen our energy bills rise by almost £70,000 per year and the funding from the Swimming Pool Support Fund will strengthen us to continue offering a range of physical and wellbeing activities for the community.”

In total, 264 local authorities received a share of the £60m Swimming Pool Support Fund.

Around £20m has been provided by Sport England via the National Lottery and just over £40m has been provided by the Government as part of its commitment to support the long-term sustainability of public leisure.

Lisa Dodd-Mayne, Executive Director of Place at Sport England, said: “Swimming pools and leisure centres are vital community resources and are enormously important in helping people to be physically active.

“Many pools have faced a real and significant threat to their survival this year, as local authorities and operators have battled the challenge of increased energy and wider costs, weakened reserves and difficulties with retaining staff.

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

“We hope the funding announcement will enable more public pools to improve their energy efficiency to be more environmentally and financially sustainable, so they remain available for future generations to enjoy.”