Leisure centre set for revamp following £1.5m funding boost
- Credit: IAN BURT
A cash pot of £1.5m has been secured for the full refurbishment of a town's leisure centre.
Academy Transformation Trust (ATT), which runs Nicholas Hamond Academy in Swaffham, has been granted funds from the government's Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) to improve facilities at the school.
Work will see a complete redevelopment of the sports hall and changing rooms, as well as a new reception, gym and activity room.
The leisure centre - which is also used by members of the public - will be temporarily closed for 20 weeks, starting from Wednesday, September 18. ATT has apologised for the short notice of the closure.
Edward Thomas, director of estates and procurement at Academy Transformation Trust, said: "We are delighted to have secured the necessary funding from the ESFA to enable a full refurbishment of the leisure centre at Nicholas Hamond Academy.
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"This is an extremely positive development which we are delighted to be able to take forward as a partnership and provide a leisure facility that both the pupils of the academy and the wider community truly deserve."
To mitigate disruption as much as possible, Breckland Council's leisure service provider, Parkwood Leisure, has confirmed that Swaffham gym members will be able to use gyms at its other sites in the district.
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Dereham Leisure Centre, Breckland Leisure Centre in Thetford and Attleborough Sports Hall will all be available, as well as the swimming pools at Dereham and Thetford.
In addition, Swaffham Leisure Centre members will not be charged for their memberships during the four-and-a-half month period of the closure.
Mark Robinson, Breckland's executive member for community, leisure and culture, added: "We're delighted to hear that the school has secured this major national funding.
"This will significantly improve the facilities for use by the school's pupils, while also bringing benefits to members of the public using the leisure centre."
In August, the campaign for Swaffham to get its first public swimming pool received a welcome boost in the form of a letter of support from the district council.
Since the 1990s, residents have been fighting for the construction of a swimming pool which would prevent swimmers from having to travel to Dereham or Downham Market.