Fleetwood pool set to reopen in May
Fleetwood’s YMCA leisure centre and pool are set to reopen in weeks after a successful bid for a £220,000 Government grant.
Wyre Council has announced that its bid for the Government’s National Leisure Recovery Fund has been accepted. It follows controversy over a Wyre Cabinet decision last year to fund the reopening of Garstang and Thornton amenities but not those at Fleetwood and Poulton.
The authority said the latter two would be subject to review.
That decision sparked outrage in Fleetwood, the setting-up of an online campaign group, protests and an attempt by Fleetwood Labour councillors to challnge the Cabinet decision by calling it in.
However, Wyre says the latest grant, in addition to the £1 million of additional funding it has already agreed to provide, means that leisure centres across the borough can begin to reopen soon.
Launched earlier this year by Sport England, the fund was made available for public sector leisure centres to give them the best chance of recovery once restrictions are lifted.
Coun Lynne Bowen, Portfolio Holder for Leisure, Health and Community Engagement at Wyre Council: “We are pleased to say that on April 12 the gyms at Thornton and Garstang Leisure Centres will reopen, followed by the gym and pool at Fleetwood and the pool at Garstang on May 1.
“The YMCA will keep the centre at Poulton under review, with a view to reopening it before September.”
Coun Bowen continued: “The Government’s roadmap out of lockdown means that classes cannot resume until May 17 at the earliest and the YMCA will provide an update on their classes in due course.
“There has been huge public support for the leisure centres and this now needs to translate into residents utilising the facilities. There is only a limited amount of funding available for each leisure centre so the future success will be dependent on people actually using the facilities on offer.
“The vaccination programme, along with a reduction in rates in Wyre means we can be more hopeful of residents supporting these vital facilities than we were when infection rates were still rising.
We know so many people are looking forward to getting back to the gym and the pool and we look forward to welcoming back many familiar faces.
“New members are very welcome and staff at the centres will be happy to show people all the safety measures that have been put in place, helping you to feel safe and ready to get your fitness back on track.
“This funding scheme was intended to give the sport and physical activity sector the best chance of sustainable operation over the medium term. “It’s great news that our bid has been successful, however we are now lobbying government to reopen the fund for the 2021/22 financial year to help local leisure centres put together viable, longer term plans.”
John Cronin, CEO at Fylde Coast YMCA comments, “Without the additional funding from Wyre Council, we would not be able to open any of the centres in Wyre and this funding will now allow us to do so. We understand the importance of these centres to the health and wellbeing of local communities and the crucial role they play in keeping our local children active and helping them learn to swim.
“We will continue to support local communities in any way we can.”
Elliot Myers, chief coach at Fleetwood Swimming Club, and a member of Save Fleetwood Pool, said: “It’s fantastic news, the importance of swimming to health and wellbeing is huge.
“Poeple should make sure they make use of it.”
Fleetwood Labour councillor Cheryl Raynor said: “We’re absolutely over the moon, the fight by Fleetwood residents and the Labour group was worth it, the community response has been incredible, well done to all involved.”
She added that she hoped Poulton would reopen as well.