Nearly a third of council-owned swimming pools could remain closed until next year, new research has revealed.
Swim England has warned swimming could become leisure’s ‘forgotten activity’ after finding 30% of public pools are likely to stay closed for another six months due to the cost of reopening facilities.
It said that only a fifth of local authority-owned facilities welcomed swimmers back to indoor pools on reopening day this weekend.
Jane Nickerson, chief executive of Swim England, said: ‘We face the real risk of swimming becoming a forgotten activity for so many people if public leisure centres open their gyms first and leave pools closed until next year.
‘Before the lockdown, 4.7 million people a month were swimming regularly. It is such a unique activity in that it offers huge physical and mental health benefits – and helps save the NHS and social care system more than £357m a year.’
Swim England is calling on the Government to provide financial support to the sector, arguing the savings to the NHS would more than recover the initial outlay.