Cardigan Swimming Pool has plunged into turbulent waters following confirmation that it is currently running at a £1,000 monthly deficit.
As a result of the pool’s sub-standard conditions, crucial customers such as the Poppit Sands Surf Life Saving Club, are being forced to turn their backs on the local pool and travel considerable distances for winter training sessions as a result of regular break-downs in Cardigan Pool’s heating system.
But supporters are currently intensifying their drive in a last-ditch bid to salvage the town’s much-needed pool and invest in its future for many years to come.
“This is a pool for tomorrow, not just today,” said Rose Barter, one of the Friends of Cardigan Swimming Pool.
“We’re not simply looking for support to prop the pool up for the immediate future, but we want to invest in some much-needed items which will ensure that it continues into the years ahead.”
Items on the list include a hoist for disabled swimmers, a disabled changing room and a robotic cleaner to scour the bottom of the pool.
But one of the chief problems which must be tackled is the inadequate heating system which currently breaks down on a regular basis.
“As a result, we’ve lost some vital customers through absolutely no wish of their own,” continued Rose Barton. “Natura
lly they don’t want to travel many extra miles to other swimming pools but because of our heating problems, they don’t have any option.”
Meanwhile Ceredigion MP Ben Lake is calling on the UK government to offer bespoke support to the leisure industry during the current financial crisis.
“As heating costs have increased, the immediate requirement in terms of the pool’s future is to secure funding to help address these running costs,” he told The Herald following last week’s public meeting to discuss ways of combatting Cardigan Swimming Pool’s dilemma.
“This is an issue that I’ve previously raised with the UK government and I firmly believe it should now be reconsidering its failure to offer bespoke support to the leisure sector as part of the new Energy Bill Discount Scheme.
“Swimming plays a huge part in people’s health and wellbeing, and both the physical and mental health benefits of swimming for people of all ages are well established.
“But swimming is also a life-skill. Too many of our children are leaving school being unable to swim, particularly those from less affluent backgrounds, so it’s crucial that we do all that it takes to keep Cardigan Swimming Pool open.”
Friends of the Pool have recently secured £1,600 to enable the pool to remain open until March 2023. The next stage is to raise £23,000 to match-fund a Sports Wales grant of £207,000 that has been secured with support from Ceredigion County Council.
And despite the steep ascent that lies ahead, Friends of the Pool remain optimistic.
“We’ve already got over £5,000 on our Crowdfunding drive and so many people are joining our new Friends of Cardigan Swimming Pool Facebook page to show their support,” added Rose Barton.
“The pool has served Cardigan for almost 50 years. We’ve now got to do as much as we possibly can to allow it to continue.”
If anyone would like to become a friend of the pool they can do so on https://www.facebook.com/groups/894994565171946
Match Funding donations for the Sports Wales Grant can be made at https://www.gofundme.com/f/match-funding-for-sports-wales-grant