Filey Pool not feeling the Olympic Legacy love

RAY's Nick Butterworth reports on the latest news from the Save Filey Pool campaign, which is being supported by RAY's Active Communities project.

Posted Tuesday 6 August 2013

So Lord Coe - Olympic legacy?? We’re not feeling the love in Filey!

Filey Swimming Pool remains mothballed since school governors took the decision to close the facility in January 2013. Filey Pool Action Group, supported by RAY’s Nick Butterworth, has led the campaign to explore all options for retaining a pool in Filey for the benefit of the rural villages which it serves. 

The group were approached this week by Sky Sports News to do an interview based on the current media attention focussing on how the Olympic legacy has impacted on the area, particularly in light of the recent closure of Filey Pool. The interview has helped to highlight the fact that according to Amateur Swimming Association statistics there has been a 50% reduction in the amount of School swimming facilities available in recent years and that the closure of these facilities is proving controversial in respect of recent government announcements that the Olympic legacy is on track.

The news coverage has also raised some interesting questions for the group following the recent announcement that £150 Million of Olympic legacy funding is to be made available to primary schools. The funding, available for only two years, is specifically aimed at encouraging participation in sports activity for Key Stages 1-4 which equates to around £9000 per year per school. It is arguable that the delivery of a wide range of sporting activities, including swimming, will be difficult to achieve given the limited funding available. More importantly, if there are no pool facilities available then the cost of transport to a facility twenty miles away combined with the valuable time away from the classroom will only add to the difficulties, making swimming inaccessible to many schools.

Filey Pool Action Group have the continued support of the Amateur Swimming Association and remain committed to working with Filey School, North Yorkshire County Council (NYCC), Scarborough Borough Council and elected members in trying retain a Pool service at the school site. The group met with Suzanne Firth (NYCC), Dr Morgan and Dennis Freeman Wright (ASA) on the last day of the 2013 school summer term. It was an opportunity for the group to table their proposal which demonstrates how, with commitment from all interested parties, a pool service can be delivered and generate an income to cover running costs. 

The meeting was positive, with assurances from NYCC that the pool will remain mothballed until a conclusion can be reached. Filey School appear supportive of the initiative to save the pool, however they are less committed to utilising it themselves due to constraints on their Physical Education budget. Historically, the school had utilised the majority of the timetable for their own use and if Filey School cannot commit to continued use of the pool then this could undermine the pool's income generation potential.

Filey Pool Action Group are suggesting that Filey School PTFA could, as a registered charity, act as the governing body whilst the volunteer body would deliver the service as a trading arm. The group had originally submitted an application to register the Pool as an asset of community value under the Localism Act  but were not able to as they did not meet the criteria defining an eligible community body. NYCC now appear to favour the idea of using the provisions of the Localism Act to transfer the pool's ownership directly to a community body, but the group need to explore this option further and establish the benefits and the risks involved.

Support the campaign

You can support or follow Save Filey Pool by signing the petition, or by following the campaign on Facebook and Twitter.

You can find out more about the Localism Act in general, and the rights it confers on communities, by visiting our Localism page.