The Swimming Pool Support Fund has now officially launched, with the fund split into two phases. Phase I is now open for applications.
Phase I – Revenue: £20m is available to support facilities with swimming pools with increased cost pressures, leaving them most vulnerable to closure or significant service reduction.
Phase II – Capital: £40m will also be made available by the government for capital investment to improve the energy efficiency of public facilities with pools in the medium to long term.
Phase I completed forms can be submitted via the online portal from 4 August 2023 and the deadline for receipt of applications is 11 August 2023.
Details on the funding for energy efficiency projects will follow shortly with an expected launch date of September 2023 for applications.
What is Phase I Funding?
The eligible costs that can be included in applications are pool chemical costs and utility costs attributable to swimming pools (covering Gas, Electricity, Water, Oil and LPG for the whole facility within which the swimming pool(s) are located).
Funding can’t be used in whole, or in part, towards operator profit, employment costs, redundancy or similar payments.
Funding can’t be used to retrospectively cover any costs or liabilities incurred prior to 1 April 2023.
How much can be applied for?
To maximise the impact of the fund, each successful local authority will receive a minimum of £10,000 and a maximum of £500,000 as a whole, for all the facilities included in the application.
What is the application process?
The application must have the approval of the local authority’s Section 151 officer.
A single application form must be submitted by the local authority, on behalf of the eligible pools in their area, using the online portal.
The government has launched a £63.3 million Swimming Pool Support Fund, soon to be available to local authorities in England.
Council-run leisure centres with swimming pools, and pools ran on behalf of councils by private companies or charities, are eligible for the support.
The fund, which is being managed by Sport England, was announced by the Chancellor of the Exchequer during the Spring Budget to give swimming pools a financial boost and stay afloat amidst rising energy bills and increased operational and maintenance costs.
Sport England are finalising the appointment of a grant administrator and are working with the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) to set the capital fund criteria and application process to launch the fund at the end of June.
Tim Hollingsworth, Sport England Chief Executive, said: “This is a significant and welcome amount of support from the Government that will offer a lifeline to many public leisure centres across England as well as help sustain them into the future.”
What does the fund cover?
In total, £40m will be available for investment in decarbonisation and long-term energy efficiency solutions.
In addition, £23m will be available in the form of grants to support vulnerable facilities who face potential closure or service reduction due to increased cost pressures.
How and when to apply:
- Applications are to be submitted by the end of July
- Applications will be assessed by Sport England in August
- Decision of recipients will be announced in September
- Payments will follow on receipt of a signed funding agreement
Competition for the fund is expected to be high and applications will only be accepted from local authorities directly. Each local authority is to submit one application for all publicly accessible swimming pools in the area.
If you represent a community pool offering public access outside of the local authorities’ own asset base, it is advised to contact your local authority if you’re interested in applying to the Swimming Pool Support Fund.
Applicants to the fund are instructed to co-ordinate their own options for sourcing supplies and works.
There are more than 2,000 public leisure centres in England, over 800 of which have pools, and they play a vital role in helping communities engage with sport and physical activity.
Whilst further details of the criteria and application form are yet to be announced, we encourage all applicants to start preparing to act quickly. It’s important that your application is ready to go as soon as the window opens.
How can Inspired help?
Inspired PLC is the perfect partner to support your application as we have over 20 years’ experience in helping public bodies with all their energy and sustainability needs.
Our experts can support you throughout the process and submit a successful application.