Swimming in Eastbourne has been given a boost after Eastbourne Borough Council and Motcombe Pool Community Interest Company (CIC) successfully secured £227,690 from the Swimming Pool Support Fund.

The money is part of a £20 million national fund being delivered by Sport England for energy efficiency savings at swimming pools in response to increased operating costs.

The Sovereign Centre has been awarded £91,990, out of which £65,990 will go towards replacing gas boilers that are more than 20 years old and £26,000 will be spent on replacing old fluorescent lighting with LED lighting.

Councillor Margaret Bannister, Cabinet Member for Tourism, Leisure, Accessibility and Community Safety, said: “I’m delighted our bid for these funds to support swimming in Eastbourne was successful, as rising energy bills have significantly increased our swimming pool running costs at a time when the council is under extreme financial pressure.

“Hundreds of people of all ages use the Sovereign Centre every day, from youngsters learning to swim to older residents staying active, and this funding will help us pay rising energy and maintenance costs so that everyone can keep swimming.”

Meanwhile, Motcombe Pool has been granted £135,700 from the same fund.

The Victorian pool, owned by Eastbourne Borough Council, was designated an Asset of Community Value in 2022, and since then, Motcombe Pool CIC volunteers have been working on proposals to bring it back into operation including applying for grant funding with support from council officers.

The grant comprises £107,500 towards Photo Voltaic (PV) panels for heating the water and £28,200 for pool covers.

While much more money is needed to reopen Motcombe Pool, this funding is a step in the right direction, say supporters.

Helen Nichols, Chair of Motcombe Pool CIC, said: “The Motcombe Pool CIC is thrilled about this Sport England funding, which will enable some of the many sustainable features we have planned for the pool and the house. 

“This funding is a real boost to our journey towards reopening the pool and the house for future generations.”