Anger as his­toric swim club goes un­der

Macclesfield Express - - FRONT PAGE - DANIELLE ROPER

ASWIMMING club which has been op­er­at­ing for more than 120 years say they are be­ing forced to close.

Mac­cles­field Am­a­teur Swim­ming Club (MASC), based at Mac­cles­field Leisure Cen­tre and run solely by vol­un­teers, says it will not be able to con­tinue af­ter be­ing told by the cen­tre it can no longer hire the pool.

Jan­ice Whitelaw, chair­man of MASC, which cur­rently runs weekly halfhour lessons from the pool, said she is ‘fu­ri­ous’ the his­toric club is be­ing pushed out.

Jan­ice, 71, said: “Our club has ex­isted since 1893. I’ve been with the club 38 years and re­fus­ing to let us hire the pool any­more is aw­ful. We are ab­so­lutely fu­ri­ous.

“Swim­ming is a life skill. “The par­ents of chil­dren who have lessons with us are ab­so­lutely ap­palled and we’ve had 92 let­ters of sup­port from them.”

The club, which has 135 mem­bers, of­fers lessons ev­ery Tues­day from 7pm to 9pm, charg­ing par­tic­i­pants £145 for 48 weeks to cover the cost of the pool.

Some lessons are be­ing stopped by April 1 this year and the re­main­der by April 2017, with fu­ture lessons pro­vided ex­clu­sively at Mac­cles­field Leisure Cen­tre by the char­ity which de­liv­ers leisure fa­cil­i­ties for Cheshire East Coun­cil, Ev­ery­body Sports and (ESAR).

But Jan­ice said the loss of the dis­counted club will mean some chil­dren will have to stop lessons.

She said: “ESAR charge around £100 more for the

Recre­ation equiv­a­lent which, with a few chil­dren, be­comes pro­hib­i­tively ex­pen­sive.

“And Mac­cles­field Leisure Cen­tre don’t have the teach­ing staff to cover evening classes. We don’t know where to go from here.”

Chris Whal­ley, whose chil­dren Al­fie, six, and Libby, seven, at­tend the club, said: “It’s ridicu­lous that af­ter 123 years, there is no room for any­one other than ESAR to run lessons. The vol­un­teers at MASC all give up their own time and are so nice.”

A spokesman for ESAR, which runs the leisure cen­tre, said: “MASC has been hir­ing Mac­cles­field Swim­ming Pool un­der a pre­vi­ous agree­ment which is no longer vi­able with Ev­ery­body Sport and Recre­ation and not con­sis­tent with our other fa­cil­ity hire agree­ments.”

The spokesman added a re­cruit­ment drive for swim­ming teach­ers in Mac­cles­field had taken place.

It is un­der­stood the teach­ing side of the Satel­lites of Mac­cles­field Swim­ming Club, which holds classes at the leisure cen­tre, will also be taken over by ESAR.

‘Re­fus­ing to let us hire the pool any­more is aw­ful’

Matt Rat­cliffe

●● Mac­cles­field Am­a­teur Swim­ming Club vol­un­teers (from left) Lind­say Whitelaw, Jan­ice Whitelaw, Jonny Ing­ham, Cath Ing­ham and Jan­ice With­ers

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