- Posted by: Joyce Watson MS
- Category: Feature
A pioneering north Wales leisure centre has secured funding to run free swimming sessions for young and older people.
Following a concerted campaign by supporters of community-run Harlech swimming pool, Gwynedd Council has agreed to sponsor free swimming sessions for local members of the leisure centre aged 16 and under, and 60 or over.
The campaign to secure free swimming has been backed by Assembly Member Joyce Watson. The Mid and West Wales Labour AM lobbied Welsh sports minister, Huw Lewis AM, to get Gwynedd Council to extend its free swimming initiative to Harlech pool.
Welcoming the news, Mrs Watson said:
“This is a wonderful victory for everyone involved with Harlech pool, and another important step towards securing the future of this centre at the heart of the community.”
The Welsh Government invests £3.5m a year in its Free Swimming initiative. Sport Wales manages the scheme and local authorities deliver it. To-date, Harlech pool has not been eligible for funding from the scheme because it is not maintained by the local authority.
Community company Harlech & Ardudwy Leisure was set up by local people to save the swimming pool from closure. There was an outcry after Gwynedd Council said in 2007 that Harlech pool had “reached the end of its life” and closing it would save £160,000 a year.
The Harlech swimming scheme starts on 1 June. Free swimming sessions for older members will be available 12pm to 1pm, Monday to Thursday, and Tuesday evenings, 7pm to 8pm. Local young members will have access to the pool at times yet to be confirmed during school holidays.