Supporters of the Llandysul Aqua Centre are organising a 24 hour Swimathon to raise money for the community pool. The Swimathon, planned for 21-22 June, will last from 3 o'clock Saturday afternoon to 3 o'clock Sunday afternoon, a ond individuals and groups of adults and children will be swimming through the day and night in order to raise money to ensure the future of the centre.
There will be entertainment laid on at some times during the event, including a climbing wall, cake stall, refreshments, and for those taking part, maybe bacon sandwiches!
It is thanks to the generosity of members of the local community that Llandysul's Aqua Centre has been able to remain open, and already a community group is planning to run an extra weekly activity at the pool.
Chairman of the Trustees, Gareth Bryant says: “In order to make savings we have had to reduce the opening hours and increase prices but the public understand the reasons for this and realise it all helps towards securing our future. Now, we have several free slots that are available for the use of local groups and schools – and one group has already asked to run aquarobics sessions. It is an exciting time for us!”
Late in 2013 the pool, which is a registered charity, received the news that Ceredigion County Council had chosen to cut the grant funding it receives, leaving it with no option but to consider closing down. At a public meeting in December, which 300 people attended, 150 offered to sign up to a monthly donation system, to help keep the pool open. Since then the pool has several new Trustees and has also set up a dedicated fundraising group made up of volunteers.
Gareth Bryant again: “It is regrettable that the Council chose to cut funding to one pool instead of spreading it across the other pools in the County. However, we are very grateful to the community for getting behind the pool and so far 87 people are donating a monthly amount through our dedicated direct debit and standing order system and we have received several one-off donations. We still have a long way to go, and to help secure our future we desperately need all the people that initially expressed interest in the scheme to sign up, but the support has been very encouraging so far.”
“There's plenty more hard work ahead, and it won't be easy. We've set a target of 300 monthly contributors, which will give us a solid base and allow us to invest in the pool's future. There's a desire in the community to do something, but not everyone has got around to it yet. But i't vitally important that the community continue to fight for this much needed community facility, and that they come up to use the pool as well. It would be brilliant to get more offers from the community to run, or suggest new activities at the pool, but in the meantime, thank you to everyone who has contributed already – we are still open because of you!”
There are still places available at the Swimathon. Anyone interested in taking part, signing up to the donation scheme, joining the volunteer fundraising group or offering new activities can contact Trystan Davies at the pool on 01559 362548 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org