Swim England CEO Jane Nickerson has expressed her extreme disappointment at the news that Ponds Forge International Sports Centre will be mothballed for the foreseeable future due to significant issues with the venue, which have been exacerbated by the pandemic.
The announcement that Ponds Forge, home to Swim England national events and other major international competitions over the years, is to remain shut indefinitely is a bitter blow to the swimming, diving and water polo clubs based at the Centre and which will now need to find a new home. For the diving community especially, the situation looks dire. Ponds Forge is one of a very small number of bespoke diving facilities in England and home to the National Junior Diving Championships.
Ponds Forge, however, is not the only diving venue to remain closed. Only eight of the 35 Swim England affiliated diving clubs currently have access to the water. Some pools have reopened their doors since leisure centres were given the green light to do so by the Government on Saturday 25 July. However, a large majority of local authority owned facilities will still remain closed at the beginning of September and beyond. Statistics such as this make for depressing reading and leave many fearful about the future of aquatic sports.
Swim England fought hard publicly for the reopening of pools with its’ campaign to #OpenOurPools and #SaveLeisure and continues to campaign for emergency funding for this vital sector.