Move that could sink swim club defended
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.”
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