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New firm to run the Tenbury Swimming Pool
A NEW company is being set up to help secure the future of Tenbury Swimming Pool and Leisure Centre.
The move comes as it is revealed that £100,000 of work is needed on the ageing facility.
While it does not all need to be done immediately, there is growing concern about the funding of the pool that dates back to 1968.
The company that will come into being later in the year will take over from a trust that was set up 45 years ago and takes on the vital job of fund-raising for a facility that attracts nearly 200,000 visits every year.
Under a complex arrangement the new company will be responsible for the fabric of the building, while the day-to-day operation stays with Sports and Leisure Management (SLM), who employ 13 full-time and part-time staff.
At present the facility receives a grant of £70,000 a year from Malvern Hills District Council but this goes nowhere near meeting the running costs.
“Many people believe that we are a council facility but this is not the case,” said Dan Steed, of SLM.
“We run the both the pool and the g ym that was added in 2003 and look after basic ongoing maintenance such as replacing lights.”
But it is the new company that will be responsible for major repairs and while the basic structure of the building is sound it is full of ageing, sophisticated and expensive equipment such as the two giant boilers and the system that chlorinates the water.
“There is the grant from Malvern Hills District Council but in the current financial situation who knows what the future holds,” said Caroline Palethorpe, who will be one of the directors of the new company that will be a registered charity.
She said that income was increasing from people using the facilities and there had been an ‘Olympic Le gacy’ with more users last year.
But this is not able to keep up with rising running costs and in particular the gas required for the boilers.
Plans include applying for a £50,000 grant to refurbish the changing rooms.
“The message is that this is a great facility for the town and sur rounding area,” said Ms Palethorpe.
“It helps people enjoy themselves and keep fit as well as hosting many community activities.”
She said that despite the present challenges an ambitious £1.5 million scheme to make the facility the centre of a sports complex has not been abandoned.
However, it was put on ice in 2010 when the Government scrapped the Re gional Development Agency Advantage West Midlands that was lined up as a partner in the scheme.
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