TRUSTEES of Settle Swimming Pool say they have been forced to take drastic action to keep the community pool open in the face of challenging financial pressures.

The cost of an adult swim from the start of December went up by 75p and pool users are being asked to make financial donations after the pool failed to get hoped for Government funding to help public swimming pools with rising energy costs.

Other steps include reducing staffing costs, the opening of a second fundraising shop, and with 'longer term measures' also under consideration.

Colin Coleman, chair of Settle Pool, said there was a real danger that the pool, which reopened in October last year following a £840,000 redevelopment, could close.

He said: “There is only one other public pool within 20 miles of Settle. We offer a wide range of sessions for all ages as well as public swimming and school swimming and it is now clear that without urgent action there is a real danger that the pool will have to close.

"It makes no sense for us to be denied funding when pools closer to other facilities, offering fewer services and operating in less challenging environments have been given substantial amounts of public funding.”

Almost 200 pools and leisure centres across England, including at West Craven Sports Centre, Barnoldswick, received grants last month of up to £300,000 from the first phase of the Government/Sport England £60m Swimming Pool Support Fund, but none went to the 18 pools in North Yorkshire.

From December 1, the price of an adult swim at the Settle pool rose from £6.20 to £6.95; prices also went up for lessons and activities in the pool's fitSpace area.

And, in a move to help regular users, a long term membership scheme is being introduced, giving reduced rates for both swimming and fitSpace sessions and a combination of both.

The pool's charity shop, which opened in 2017, generates around £70,000 per year, but trustees say it is no longer enough to cope with rising costs, including the gas bill, which has gone up from just over £1,000 a month to around £7,000. A second 'pop-up' shop has recently opened in the town, with trustees appealing for more volunteers to run it.

Original shop volunteer, Anne Galloway, this year's North Yorkshire volunteer of the year said: “We are getting plenty of donations, including some high value items, but we need more volunteers to help with sales, both on line and through our shops.”

The trustees are dismayed that Sport England, administer of the Government pool support fund, did not approve its application.

Pool treasurer Rosie Sanderson told the November meeting of the trustees: “When the pool was facing financial difficulties a few years ago it was Sport England that told us the only way to go was to undertake a major expansion, including a new dry area.

"We followed their advice and have coped with unforeseen challenges as Covid and storm damage leading to temporary closure, but now when we need urgently help we are denied support.”

Trustees have asked Sport England about why they were denied aid from the fund despite they believe meeting the three criteria.

Sport England states on its website: "The government's Swimming Pool Support Fund (SPSF) provides a total of £60 million to local authorities in England as a support package for public leisure facilities with swimming pools and is split into two phases.

Revenue (phase one): £20m is available to support facilities with swimming pools with increased cost pressures, leaving them most vulnerable to closure or significant service reduction.

Capital (phase two): £40m is available from the government for capital investment to improve the energy efficiency of public facilities with pools in the medium to long term."

Full details of cost rises at Settle Pool at: