Swimming club fighting to stay afloat

Knottingley Amateur Swimming Club to fight against rent hike to use pool.
Knottingley Amateur Swimming Club to fight against rent hike to use pool.

A swimming club, which has taught hundreds of children over four decades, has been told it can no longer teach classes at a sports centre.

Knottingley Amateur Swimming Club secretary Christine Trinder met with Wakefield Council to discuss a new pay structure to hire the pool at Knottingley Sports Centre.

But during the meeting, the authority said the club will no longer be able to teach youngsters to swim from April 1 and their client list will be taken over by the centre.

Mrs Trinder, 65, said: “It came as a bombshell.

“The council said this is how it works at other pools and this is what we are doing in Knottingley. There was no consultation and we won’t stop fighting against it.”

Knottingley ASC has taught children to swim for 44 years and runs a team which takes part in competitions.

Mrs Trinder said the club had gained a good reputation.

She said: “We are family oriented and people who learned to swim at the club are bringing their children to us.

“The council said it would be beneficial as we can progress our competitive team but the ethos of the club is to teach children to swim.”

Under the new pay structure to hire the pool, the club would have to pay £15 per hour to use a lane and £52 for the pool, where it runs its classes.

Mrs Trinder said the increase in rent was excessive and it would leave people paying more for their children to learn how to swim.

Knottingley ASC charges a £30 annual membership fee and £2.50 per session to use the pool. But under the new proposals, people would pay £52 for 10 lessons, which equates to £5.20 per session.

Mrs Trinder said: “They have to pay for the lessons up front, where we are flexible. The council are trying to get as much money as possible.”

Karen Collins, Wakefield Council’s service director for culture and sport, said: “We have been working with the club for some time to set up a payment system in-line with all other clubs in the district as recommended by the Amateur Swimming Association.

“We have to do this as we are currently subsidising this club far more than any other club in the district, which simply isn’t fair or sustainable, given the huge cuts to our budget.

“As well as offering significant financial support to help them adjust to the new payment system we also offered to help with the junior lesson waiting list.

“This was made in good faith, in case the club were unwilling to hire the learner pool, under the new arrangements. We know the club does great work and are keen to continue working with them.”