Cricklade Leisure Centre has reopened following a revamp.
The community has worked with Wiltshire Council to ensure a comprehensive makeover of the facilities at the Stones Lane site over the last two years.
It’s been quite a journey since it first opened in 1978 as a result of local people raising sufficient funds to build their own community swimming pool.
When the centre was faced with closure back in 2006, as Wiltshire Council planned to withdraw its funding, the community pulled together again to ensure the facility was maintained for future generations.
The strength of feeling expressed by the community, including a mass protest staged outside the council offices in Trowbridge, contributed to a rethink. Instead of a total withdrawal of funds, a short term hybrid funding model was introduced whereby the centre still received a small amount of money.
Since 2007 the centre has been managed by Cricklade & District Community Association – a charity operated by local volunteers – with daily operations run by a small staff team.
In 2019 the funding agreement with Wiltshire Council came to an end. A final grant of £2.5 million was provided to fund much-needed upgrades and repairs, and ownership of the centre was transferred to Cricklade Town Council.
Plans on how this investment was to be spent were drawn up and consulted on with the community. Work on the refurbishment started in late 2019.
And then the pandemic struck, bringing the improvements work to a halt and closing large parts of the centre for what would turn out to be 15 months.
But still the community stood behind the centre, with around 60 per cent of members continuing to pay their monthly memberships, despite not being able to use the facilities. Local businesses also stepped up to help out, with donations towards the revamp coming from Crapper & Sons Landfill Ltd, Hill’s Recycling, Cricklade Town Council and the Waylands Trust.
Once restrictions allowed, work restarted to revitalise the swimming pool and changing areas, extend the gym, install a new lift, and build a new dance studio and therapy rooms.
The centre is now open again but more improvements are planned such as resurfacing the car park and tennis courts, but also growing the number of services and classes on offer.
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