Hindley is to keep its swimming pool after a landmark deal was approved by Wigan Council’s ruling cabinet today (Thursday).
The Phoenix Group – a voluntary group which includes ward councillors and local businessmen and women – successfully bid to run the facility after the pool had been identified for closure a year ago.
Cllr Chris Ready, the cabinet lead for leisure, says: “I am delighted that the pool is to stay open. I would like to pay tribute to colleagues who have worked hard on the detail but most of all I want to thank the Phoenix Group, who have prepared a good bid which we hope will assure a future for the pool.”
Council and Trust staff as well as members of the Phoenix Group have pledged that, when they assume control of the premises next February, there will be a smooth transfer and the service for swimmers will continue uninterrupted.
The site had been identified for closure by Wigan Council as part of the savings targets expected of Wigan Leisure and Culture Trust by 2013/14. The change of management to the community will mean a saving of £97,000 a year for residents.
Local MP Yvonne Fovargue adds: ““This is good news for the community and I am pleased that swimming will continue in Hindley thanks to the efforts of all parties. We’re all aware that in the current economic climate that there is a severe pressure on budgets so this innovative approach and partnership working between the council and local people is to be commended.”
Cllr Ready says: “We took the decision to close the pool in June 2011 with genuinely heavy hearts. It’s not what anyone would have wanted but faced with having to make massive cutbacks, we had no option. We identified funds to keep the pool open whilst interested parties came forward and I am absolutely thrilled that this extra time has allowed the Phoenix Group to put this plan together.”
There are no staffing implications as Trust staff would be offered posts elsewhere.
The Phoenix Group have been in regular contact with the Pelican Group, which now runs Tyldesley Baths, to see how their model of community management is operating. The group are looking for further support from the community: would-be volunteers are invited to email them on firstname.lastname@example.org or call Margaret Rowson on 01942 510532.