Swimming pools under threat due to soaring energy bills

One Aberdeen leisure centre has even reduced its pool temperature to cut costs as chiefs warn of leisure centre 'crisis.'

There’s a risk the next generation won’t be able to swim according to Scotland’s governing body for the sport.

It’s because leisure facilities which house swimming pools are facing a huge rise in their bills in line with the cost of living crisis.

Aberdeen Sports Village (ASV) has reported its costs have doubled from £800,000 to £1.6m.

CEO Duncan Sinclair says the entire sector is under threat and warned costs may have to be passed on to the customer so leisure centres can stay afloat.

He told STV News: “The sector is no doubt in crisis and there is an inevitability that swimming pools will close in the coming months across Scotland.

“There’s no suggestion ASV be closing its doors but it’s important to get across to our customers that change is absolutely required.

“We cannot continue to do what we’re currently doing in the way that we’re doing it, including how we price the facilities and the membership. Change is required.”

Some leisure centres are cutting pool temperatures to curb costs

The centre has dropped their pool temperatures to cut costs which has led to concern from parents.

Lindsay McLeish stopped attending swimming lessons with her toddler soon after the temperatures dropped.

She said: “It was so cold trying to get myself into the pool, it took my breath away.

“When we were in the pool my daughter was clinging onto me around my neck, she didn’t want to participate at all and didn’t want to play with the toys or engage with anything.

“It was so unlike her because when we went to warmer pools, she was happy playing with the toys.”

Financial pressures on pools across the UK mean leisure bosses are calling for the government to step in.

They want leisure and sports centres to be included in the Energy Relief Scheme.

Euan Lowe CEO at Scottish Swimming said: “It appears strange to many of us in this sector why swimming pools aren’t included in that relief.

“I think that would be the most important thing to have that reviewed to see if there is an opportunity for operators… to allow them to support the bills that they do have to keep swimming pools open.

“Swimming is undoubtedly a life skill and we are an island nation with lots of water in it.”

The UK Government said they were aware sport facilities were contending with increasing costs, adding that they plan to invest £260 million in facilities across the UK.

They did not mention reviewing the scheme to include relief for sports centres.

In June last year, the Beach Leisure Centre in Aberdeen was closed ‘temporarily’ due to a spike in costs.

A UK government spokesperson said: “We know our grassroots sports facilities are contending with increases in running costs and we provided an £18 billion package of support for organisations such as clubs, pools, leisure centres, schools, charities and businesses through the winter.

“We made £1 billion available to ensure the survival of sports and leisure sectors during the pandemic, giving councils an additional £3.7 billion to deliver key services such as leisure centres and swimming pools, and we are investing £260 million to build or upgrade thousands of grassroots facilities across the UK.”

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