Wiltshire Publications

Issue 471 – End of free swimming

AS of next month, people will no longer be able to enjoy free swimming at Westbury Pool.

Since April 2009, residents aged over 60 and under 16 have been able to take up the offer of free swimming sessions. However, government funding for the scheme has now ceased and charges will be reintroduced for these age groups from October.
The scheme was introduced by the government in order to encourage people across the country to take up swimming and keep fit. Although government funding was withdrawn in July, Wiltshire Council carried on providing free swimming in the county thanks to continued financial support from NHS Wiltshire.
However, with the pressure of cuts, the council says it is no longer possible to continue the scheme.
A spokesperson for Wiltshire Council said, “We understand how unfortunate it is that the free swimming has to be cut. Sadly it is a part of government funding and with the new government cutting costs and reducing budgets, it is no longer viable to continue the free swimming scheme.”
Liberal Democrat David Jenkins, Wiltshire unitary councillor and chair of Westbury Area Board said, “To lose free swimming as of the 1st October 2010 is regrettable especially for those people over 60 and the children under 16. It is unfortunate but an unavoidable consequence of the funding being cut by central government. Free swimming was 100% funded by direct ring fenced grant, and when this stopped there was no way especially in the present economic climate that the council could find the £0.5m required to continue it.”