Open meetings could decide fate of pool

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USE your local swimming pool or lose it!

That’s the message to residents in Hindley ahead of a series of public meetings intended to try to thrash out a brighter future for the Borsdane Avenue baths.

The pool has been operating on reduced hours since the announcement last year that it would have to close unless community or groups could be found to either run it or split the cost of operating the venue, in a bid by Wigan Council and Wigan Leisure and Culture Trust to reduce costs.

Anxious swimmers formed the Save Our Swim (SOS) campaign group, which has now been re-constituted as a community group, the Hindley Organisation for Pool and Exercise group (HOPE).

Although HOPE has stressed it is not looking to take over the running of Hindley Pool, members are keen to help run activities there outside of the public swimming times run by the council and assist with the maintenance of the building to reduce the pool’s annual subsidy from the local authority.

They are also currently looking at entering into partnership with the council and WLCT, though no details of this have been finalised yet.

HOPE will host two public meetings next week to discuss with the community ways of ensuring the swimming facilities remain in Hindley, and are putting out a call for volunteers to help them.

Chairman David Blake said: “One of the first things people can do to help the pool is use it, and the early signs seem very promising in that direction.

“Attendances are stacking up quite well against previous years, and the exodus of swimmers to Wigan Life Centre we feared hasn’t really happened, but we’re definitely not resting on our laurels.

“We’re looking for volunteers who would like to run activities and community organisations who could look to hire the pool outside of the core opening hours, and we’d also like to do some painting and landscaping work so the building looks a bit more attractive.

“What we’re trying to do is look at ways to bring income in when the pool is not being used and generate more money while also reducing operating costs to keep it open in the future.”

The first meeting will take place on Monday, March 26 at Hindley Sports Centre on Mornington Road, and there will be a further public consultation on Wednesday, March 28, at St John’s Methodist Church on Market Street. Both meetings start at 7.30pm.