TWO Bradford district swimming pools have been awarded almost £500,000 as part of a national scheme to secure the future of such facilities.

Sport England has granted a total of £474,466 worth of funding to help improve the Leisure Centre in Keighley and Ilkley Swimming Pool.

The money is coming from its Swimming Pool Support Fund – the first wave of which was worth £20m “to support facilities with swimming pools with increased cost pressures, leaving them most vulnerable to closure or significant service reduction".

Ilkley Gazette: The Leisure Centre at Keighley (left) and Ilkley Swimming Pool (right)The Leisure Centre at Keighley (left) and Ilkley Swimming Pool (right) (Image: Google Street View)

A second wave, worth £40m nationally, will be announced early next year, and will provide grants to “improve the energy efficiency of public facilities with pools". 

Sport England says the funding will help at a time when pools “face a significant threat to their survival". 

Bradford Council has revealed that it will be submitting bids for the second wave of funding.

The Leisure Centre in Keighley will receive £302,822 from the funding announced today, while Ilkley Swimming Pool will receive £171,644.

Councillor Simon Cunningham, Bradford Council's assistant executive member for culture, said: “Leisure centres and swimming pools are a vital resource for the wellbeing of our communities.

"They are a place where people can go to focus on their health and fitness, where children can learn to swim and families can spend quality time together.

“Ilkley Swimming Pool and Keighley Leisure Centre are both fantastic facilities and I am delighted that Sport England has granted funding to support the running of them.

“We are currently in the process of applying for additional funding from phase II of the Swimming Pool Support Fund and if successful, additional facilities across the district will receive similar support.”

Lisa Dodd-Mayne, Sport England's director of place, added: "We know just how vital swimming pools and leisure centres are to our nation’s activity levels, which is why Sport England is proud to have played a central role in the delivery of this fund.

“Many pools have faced a real and significant threat to their survival this year, as local authorities and operators battle the challenge of increased energy and maintenance costs, weakened reserves and difficulties with retaining staff.

“Today’s announcement is an important moment in time, but is by no means the end of the work facing us or the support available as we continue to work with our partners to ensure the long-term viability of these vital community resources.”