Royal seal of approval as Wigan borough charity which saved fitness centre gets top award from Queen

A charity which saved a swimming pool from closure has been given a prestigious award by the Queen.

The Pelican Centre in Tyldesley has gone from strength to strength since it was taken over by a team of volunteers, as well as a small number of paid staff, 10 years ago.

Now they have been given the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service in recognition of the work carried out by countless community volunteers to engage people in health and fitness activities.

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Celebrations mark 10 years since community took over leisure centre
Swimming lessons at the Pelican Centre

This is the highest award a local voluntary group can receive in the UK and is equivalent to an MBE. The Pelican Centre is one of 244 charities and voluntary groups to receive the award this year.

Winners are announced each year on the anniversary of the Queen’s coronation, with the Pelican Centre selected on the special occasion of the platinum jubilee.

Representatives will receive the award crystal and certificate from Sir Warren Smith, Lord-Lieutenant of Greater Manchester, this summer.

Business manager Natalia Stothard said: “Over the last 10 years, our volunteers, staff, trustees and local people have joined together to establish the Pelican as a focal point and much-needed facility in the area. As an independent charity, we are so grateful to every volunteer who donates their time to ensure the continued success of the Centre, and we are thrilled to accept the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service on behalf of our whole community.”

The Pelican Centre

Chairman of trustees Paul Costello said: “The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service is well-earned recognition of the dedication and tireless work undertaken by so many to create a successful and popular asset in the Pelican Centre. Volunteers are the lifeblood of organisations such as ours, and the QAVS is testament to the commitment of everyone who has given time, resource and skills for the wider benefit of our community in Tyldesley and the local area.”

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Formerly Tyldesley Baths, the Pelican Centre was rescued by a volunteer community group in 2012 and now runs as a charity, offering swimming sessions, lessons, a gym and classes, and room hire for groups.

It uses memberships to provide activities such as free swimming lessons, room hire, facilities and toiletries for homeless people, plus volunteering opportunities.