High demand for swimming pools after lockdown

Let's teach our children that all their achievements matter- swimming lessons are a great place to s

Post-lockdown swimming is in high demand - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

A swimming teacher has said there is demand for more pools amid concerns about lack of investment in leisure facilities across the country.

National governing body Swim England has warned in a new report that there will be a huge reduction in the amount of water space available by 2030.

It said: "‘If we continue on the current trend, the number of available pools in England will fall by 40pc by the end of the decade – down from the current 4,336 to around 2,468."

Swim England is backing calls for the government to invest £1bn into public leisure facilities to help refurbish pools from the 1960s and build new ones.

Amanda Howes, from Old Catton, who runs Pollywiggle Swim School for preschoolers, said: "Swimming keeps people safe. Norfolk is surrounded by water. It is important people can swim here.

"It helps with children's cognitive development."

Miss Howes said the city and surrounding area was okay for pool availability.

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This included Riverside Leisure Centre, which opened in 2003 and is managed by Places Leisure on behalf of Norwich City Council, and Wymondham Leisure Centre, run by South Norfolk Council.

Norwich's Riverside Leisure Centre is reopening. Pic: Archant

Riverside Leisure Centre - Credit: Archant

But she added: "There is a need for more pools and fun pools."

Miss Howes said private pool hire had increased in popularity since Covid.

Katrin Oldridge with her children Ada, 2, and Hazel, born in January 2017. Picture: ANDREW OLDRIDGE

Katrin Oldridge with two of her children, pictured in January 2017 - Credit: ANDREW OLDRIDGE

Sprowston mother-of-three, Katrin Oldridge, 36, who started parenting website Norwich Mumbler, said: "We have pools but some are cold. Parents want pools that are warm and fun. Swimming is a life skill."

South Norfolk councillor Richard Elliott, said: “South Norfolk Council recognises the importance of swimming as a skill that may one day save your life.

"We have more than 1,700 members of our swim school, with ages ranging from under one to over 90-years-old and we offer free swimming to children under five

"The council has invested in our pools in Wymondham and Diss and in August more than 20,000 people used our pools.”

A city council spokesman said: “There has been investment of £820,000 into Riverside Leisure Centre. It had around 450,000 users per year, prior to covid.

“We are working to develop a Physical Activity Strategy for Greater Norwich. This will highlight if there is a need for more water space within the city.”