Faversham Pools is at risk of a 20% cut in its annual funding. The Pools, which is an independent charity, is likely to see a £20,000 reduction in the annual grant it receives from Swale Borough Council. The Council are proposing to cut the annual grant from £100,000 to £80,000 from 1st April 2023. This reduces the grant back to its 2009 level.
This comes as a blow as the grant helps pay for the running costs and keeps prices affordable for local users and families.
Faversham Pools is much loved within the local community welcoming up to 200,000 visits every year. The Pools provide indoor and outdoor swimming facilities to the public and swimming lessons. They are also used by 27 local schools and for competitive swimming with Faversham Swim Club.
Mike Ellsmore, Joint Chair of Faversham Pools said,
‘We understand the financial challenges facing Swale in respect of the cuts in government funding, the continued capping of Council Tax and the various spending pressures facing the Council. We are also grateful for the support Swale has given us both as freeholder and as our main grant funder. The current annual grant currently comprises 12.5% of our operating costs and has in the past helped us to provide an affordable swimming experience for our users.
The proposed cut of £20,000 reduces the grant back to the level it was in 2009/10 which if we allow for inflation works out at just over £50,000 at today’s values. We have a number of cost increases facing us particularly in respect of energy and staffing.
The reduction of £20,000 will mean that we will have to review our opening times and our prices. We are very reluctant to increase ticket prices at a time when many households are facing severe financial pressures and it would be very disappointing to be forced to reduce what we offer to the swimming community in the Faversham area. Perhaps most significantly the reduction will reduce our ability to raise capital investment for our rapidly ageing pools. Whilst we are very sympathetic to the financial situation Swale finds itself in, this reduction and the possibility of further reductions in future years will severely challenge the trustees’ ability to provide Faversham and its surrounding areas with a modern and up to date facility..
We would like to ask our local residents and users to contact their local Swale Borough Councillor should you disagree with the Pools’ grant being cut.”