Swim Wales have launched a campaign calling on the Welsh Government and the Senedd for more support to secure the future of swimming pools and leisure centres in Wales due to the rise in energy prices.
The sport’s governing body say 40% of council areas could be at risk of losing their leisure centres or pools by the end of March (2023). They say swimming is the second most popular sport for children in Wales. Nearly 4000 people have already signed the #Saveourpool petition calling for swimming pools to be protected.
Swimming pools and leisure centres currently aren’t eligible for any energy discount scheme.
Sioned Williams is the Head of Aquatics and Inclusion at Swim Wales. She says “We estimate that without financial support to help the providers, around 30% of pools in Wales could close and giving the current climate, could potentially be permanent closures. We’ll definitely see a reduction in opening hours which impacts the amount of people being able to use the facilities such as school swimming, club swimming and it has a great impact on everyone”
Mari Davies, a swimmer who’s represented Wales at the Commonwealth Games says “the local leisure centre and swimming pool was basically where I was 24/7′.. children and people need a space where they can go and socialize, exercise, have a break and have a chance to learn and develop new skills”
In a statement Cardiff Council said they were “looking at ways it can help maintain leisure centre services in the city amid rising energy costs”
Swim Wales is hoping to gather 10,000 signatures for the petition by the end of January and will present them to the Welsh Government.