A new £63-million fund to support leisure centres and swimming pools in Cornwall has been welcomed by community groups which have taken over swimming pools.

In the Spring Budget, announced on March 15 by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Jeremy Hunt, the Chancellor announced that after lobbying from a number of MPs, including Scott Mann, the Conservative MP for North Cornwall, he was providing funding to ensure leisure centres and swimming pools can remain open.

The MP for North Cornwall was one of a number listed by Mr Hunt as being responsible for lobbying him to make the fund happen, which is aimed to provide financial support for leisure centres in order to help them continue to operate during the ongoing energy price hikes and cost-of-living crisis.

Mr Mann welcomed the announcement from the Chancellor, saying: “I very much appreciate that the Chancellor has listened to MPs in rural constituencies to bring this measure forward. This was something I asked for in my meeting prior to the budget, and something which my constituents in North Cornwall wanted me to put directly to him. It is important to have a strong voice in Westminster who can deliver for our local area.”

The news was also welcomed by community groups operating Cornwall’s leisure centres.

In Wadebridge, where the Friends of Wadebridge Leisure Centre (FOWLC) took over the running of the pool upon the exit of Better Leisure last year, the extra funding was welcomed as something that will buy the group time to reduce their outgoings by investing in newer, more energy-efficient equipment.

Amanda Pennington, a Trustee of the Friends of Wadebridge Leisure Centre, said: “It buys us time to get measures in place to reduce our outgoings. We hope to replace a lot of old, energy-intensive plant that costs a lot to run with new energy-efficient equipment. It will reduce our electricity and gas bills, and in turn our carbon emissions too. We are going to invest in additional renewables too, so the extra support is very welcome.”

She also welcomed the support and intervention of the North Cornwall MP, adding: “Thanks to our MP Scott Mann for the ongoing support and lobbying on our behalf.”

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