Anger as historic swim club goes under
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’
●● Macclesfield Amateur Swimming Club volunteers (from left) Lindsay Whitelaw, Janice Whitelaw, Jonny Ingham, Cath Ingham and Janice Withers