Move that could sink swim club de­fended

Macclesfield Express - - NEWS -

AWHOLE gen­er­a­tion of young­sters could miss out on swim­ming as a re­sult of a char­ity be­ing banned from hold­ing lessons at Macclesfield Leisure Cen­tre, it’s been claimed.

Cheshire East coun­cil this week backed the move by Ev­ery­body Sports and Recre­ation (ESAR), a trust set up to run the coun­cil’s leisure ser­vices, which means Macclesfield Am­a­teur Swim­ming Club (MASC) will no longer be able to teach there.

ESAR will in­stead run its own lessons.

But Jan­ice Whitelaw, Am­a­teurs club chair­man, be­lieves there is enough room and pool time for both clubs to run lessons.

She said: “The frus­trat­ing thing is they have told us we have to go and we have no choice. I don’t see why we can’t both de­liver lessons. We teach at 7pm on a Tues­day for two hours, it’s not as if they will be run­ning classes at that time any­way. I don’t be­lieve they will be able to pro­vide enough lessons for all the chil­dren that need them.

“There could be a whole gen­er­a­tion of chil­dren who can’t swim be­cause they can’t get lessons.”

She added: “They say they can’t sub­sidise us, but if that’s the only prob­lem then we can look at how we could man­age that. The prob­lem is they haven’t given us any choice.”

The an­nounce­ment prompted out­rage among the club’s vol­un­teers and sup­port­ers who say there is enough room and chil­dren for both char­i­ties to teach. The coun­cil has de­fended the move which will re­sult in the clo­sure of the 120-year-old Am­a­teurs group.

Cheshire East Coun­cil said that the Amat­uers could still hire the pool at sub­sidised rates but would not be able to use it to hold lessons.

A coun­cil spokesman said: “We are aware of the pro­posal for ESAR’s changes to the ‘ learn to swim’ scheme at our leisure cen­tres. While we fully un­der­stand that this will have some im­pact on swim­ming clubs, who use our fa­cil­i­ties for the teach­ing of swim­ming, we would like to em­pha­sise that these clubs will con­tinue to have ac­cess to sig­nif­i­cantly sub­sidised pool hire rates. It is to the ben­e­fit of our res­i­dents that any sub­sidy re­quired to man­age the leisure cen­tres is kept to a min­i­mum by pru­dent man­age­ment.”

Macclesfield MP David Rut­ley said he is keen for a com­pro­mise to be reached.

He said: “I very much hope that ESAR and Cheshire East will get around the ta­ble with MASC and find a way for the swim­ming club to con­tinue to play and ac­tive role in pro­vid­ing lessons at Macclesfield Leisure Cen­tre as it has done for over 100 years.”

●● The open­ing of DJ Massey & Son’s new jew­ellers shop in Mar­ket Place

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