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High energy costs threaten future of pools and physical activity facilities

More than 1,000 publicly accessible pools have closed since 2010 (Image: Swim England)

Ongoing high energy costs are continuing to threaten the future of the UK’s pools, leisure centres and other publicly-operated sports and fitness facilities, according to a new report.

ukactive’s energy risk survey shows that nearly 40% of leisure centres and other publicly operated physical activity facilities are considering reducing services, or closing sites entirely, by March 2024 due to ongoing high energy costs.

While government support has been provided in the form of an Energy Bill Discount Scheme, only 9.6% of public sector respondents said the scheme had made a significant impact in improving the risk rating for their facility.

Meanwhile, another source of financial support, the Swimming Pool Support Fund, has seen demand greatly outstripped supply. As a result, less than 50% of applicants to grants have been successful.

The findings come after Swim England’s Value of Swimming report – published in September – revealed that more than 1,000 publicly accessible pools have closed since 2010.

The Value of Swimming report also outlined how swimming is generating £2.4billion of social value a year with water-based activity continuing to make a significant contribution to the physical and mental wellbeing of the nation.

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