An ambitious project to bring a community pool to Debenham has received an unexpected boost after Sport England granted a deadline extension to find the remaining £170,000 to fund it.
There were fears last year the fundraising efforts for the Debenham Community Swimming Pool Project might fall short, with a number of grants, including funding from Sport England, only available if the £400,000 total had been raised by January.
But after Central Suffolk and North Ipswich MP Dr Dan Poulter penned a letter to the organisation in support of the project, Sport England agreed to extend the deadline to find the remaining money to May.
Chair of the project, Sacha Feeney-Howells, told the Diss Express the new pool would provide Suffolk residents access to a healthy environment, help older people have a good quality of life, as well as helping children.
“The news was brilliant, many thanks to Dr Dan Poulter for contacting Sport England, and many thanks to Sport England for this extension – which had been unexpected.
“It gives us a little bit more time to find our shortfall, and also gives us a little bit more credibility because Sport England has done so much to help us. It shows that it is a worthwhile project.
Yes, we understand that £170k is a large shortfall but we have secured £230k, so we have to stay positive. So much has been achieved, where there’s a will there’s a waySacha Feeney-Howells
“However we still need help with finding the shortfall – so all ideas much appreciated
“Yes, we understand that £170k is a large shortfall but we have secured £230k, so we have to stay positive.
“So much has been achieved, where there’s a will there’s a way.”
Dr Poulter added:“The pool will be a fantastic community facility if built.
“It will help a lot of young people maintain a healthy lifestyle.
“The extension gives the community the opportunity to come together and hopefully raise the remaining money required.
“It’s nice to have a direct input into helping keep the project going – without the money from Sport England the pool won’t be built. I’m very grateful they agreed to my request.”
The outdoor pool in the north Suffolk village has been out of use since 2012.
The new facility would be built on the Sir Robert Hitcham Primary School playing field, next to the pre-school playgroup building, able to accommodate 30 swimmers, three swimming lesson groups at a time, and have its own changing rooms.
For more see www.debenhamcommunityswimmingpool.org.uk.
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