Outrage over plans to close school pool
CHARNWOOD College has revealed plans to close its swimming pool for good because it is no longer financially viable to keep the facility open - and now borough councillors have vowed to fight to reverse the move. A letter given to parents on Tuesday (September 3) said: “You will be aware that the swimming pool at Charnwood College has been a longstanding facility offered by the school which supports the curriculum at Charnwood College Academy and the wider community. The facility is also used by local primary schools and offers a Swim School programme. “Due to the age of the facility and its general state of repair, it was necessary to close the facility for a 6-week period at Easter for emergency temporary repairs to the water system. “A subsequent financial review of the swimming pool facility has found that it is no longer viable provision for the academy. The financial review has shown that the income generated from the facility is not sufficient to off-set ongoing investments. “After careful consideration, the Trust has decided to commence a consultation on the proposal to decommission the swimming pool with a view to the facility closing by December 31, 2019. “The proposed timescales are as follows: From September 2019 cease Swim School, from September to December 2019 continue to provide the facility to local Primary school users and existing hirers. “A formal consultation process with the affected staff members commenced on Monday (September 2) for a period of 30 days. In addition and as part of a wider consultation, we invite feedback and alternative options to this proposal from key stakeholders and the wider community. “Following the 30-day consultation process an outcome paper will be published with both the affected staff members and the wider community.” The news of the closure has been condemned on social media with many users calling for action to be taken to stop the closure. One mum posted: “This is the only local pool to provide one to one swimming lessons to disabled children and adults , my son being one of them! He was unable to access any other swimming lessons and has been taught to swim for the last seven years. For many disabled children and adults this is the only activity they do a week. It provides so much more than just a lesson. The child interact with their teacher play with the toys in the water and for some who are in wheelchairs to be free in the water.” Another said: “Everyone that this is affecting needs to write to our local MP Nicky Morgan, since this is going to have a detrimental impact on the community. We need to do everything we can to save this facility.” Charnwood Borough councillors Paul Boldrin and Dr Julie Bradshaw MBE have vowed to fight to keep it open. Coun Boldrin said: “The closure of such an important facility for schools is likely to result in local children not being able to learn to swim and in our schools having to increase transport spend when their budgets are already under great pressure.” Coun Bradshaw, a world record long distance swimmer, aquatic teacher and coach, added: “I’m infuriated at this proposal. I began swimming at school at an early age and value my experience as a youngster very much. It shaped my life and have followed the ‘water passion’ ever since. “Swimming is an invaluable skill in all respects – helps save lives, great for mental health and physical well-being amongst the many benefits. Charnwood College has an amazing pool, which students can use and children can learn to swim in. “A swim school has run there for many years – just imagine how many youngsters are going to miss out at a time of their lives when they need to be encouraged to swim. “Closing this pool would be an absolute travesty and we need to fight together to keep it open.”
■ Charnwood College, Loughborough. Stock pic of Charnwood College, in Thorpe Hill, Loughborough.