Fighting to keep pool open for all
Residents and teachers from Newbridge and Weston are stepping up the fight to save the outdoor heated swimming pool at the Royal United Hospital.
The pool, which has been open for almost 30 years, is facing the threat of closure because its operating costs exceed money from entry fees.
RUH director of estates and facilities Howard Jones has said he has no choice but to increase the cost of swimming to cover costs.
But teachers from Newbridge and St Mary's RC primary schools, residents and NHS workers are calling on Mr Jones to reconsider the proposal to double fees for users and look at other ways to keep it open.
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Newbridge community governor Katy Hancock said: "Rather than proudly publicising a facility that sits firmly at the heart of the NHS's pledge that prevention is better than cure, the estates and facilities directorate have decided to double charges, thereby financially pricing most local families out of the running."
Children from both schools use the pool for swimming lessons, and teachers are concerned about what they will do if it closes.
Newbridge head teacher John Croker said: "At a time when we talk about the legacy of the Olympics, and the increasing emphasis on health through an active lifestyle, we stand on the brink of losing a first-class local facility.
"The RUH swimming pool has been of huge benefit to Newbridge Primary School, not only as a pool where our children in Year 4 have their weekly lessons, but also as a wonderful resource for our families throughout the warmer months. I appreciate the RUH cannot be expected to run the facility at a loss but I hope the powers that be are ready to explore all options."
Mr Jones is asking people to commit to the pool by buying a season ticket, saying: "The pool is not run for profit and the costs of operating it safely are now higher than the funds we raise to run it. Unfortunately the pool is in need of significant investment and we have no choice but to increase the costs of swimming this year."
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