A national day to show support and celebrate local pools facing unprecedented pressures, was supported by Abbeycroft Leisure and their partners on Friday 24 February during Big Swim Day.

The event, organised by Community Leisure UK, which represents the operators of 880 pools across England, Scotland and Wales, saw people up and down the country celebrating and helping raise awareness of the importance of these much loved community assets.

Abbeycroft manages twelve leisure centres on behalf of their partners, West Suffolk Council and Babergh District Council with six pools in Bury St Edmunds, Hadleigh, Haverhill, Mildenhall, Newmarket and Sudbury.

In just one day – over 1000 swimmers across the Abbeycroft portfolio clocked up a staggering 1,254,000 metres approximately (that’s about 800 miles); there were over 1,500 children having swimming lessons; 60 aqua class participants and a Big Splash disability group session.

Warren Smyth, chief executive of Abbeycroft said:

“It was a very positive day and has hopefully raised awareness of the importance of pools, both for health and wellbeing benefits as well as learning important life skills.
“Fortunately, we have already received support from both West Suffolk Council and Babergh District Council, who are committed to working with us to help keep our pools open and we’re incredibly grateful for that support which many UK operators just don’t have.”

Cllr Jo Rayner, West Suffolk Council’s Cabinet Member for Leisure, Culture and Community Hubs, said:

“The health and well-being of West Suffolk communities is at the heart of what we do. Which is why, working with Abbeycroft we have invested millions of pounds into providing new leisure facilities across the district. In addition, we have put aside £300,000 to help with rising costs to heat pools and are planning to build a new, better, replacement pool in Bury St Edmunds. Swimming plays a vital role in keeping people healthy, and I’m pleased so many turned out on Swim Day to show their support.”

Cllr Mary McLaren, Babergh cabinet member for Communities and Wellbeing, said:

“I was delighted to see and meet some of the swimmers at the Hadleigh Big Swim. We are fortunate to have a leisure provider like Abbeycroft operating our centres, providing as many opportunities to get into the water as they can. I hope we’ll see the continued popularity of the pools with our residents – in the Easter break, the summer holidays and beyond.”

See the swim timetables at all Abbeycroft centres here


[Images – Simon Lee Photography]

Cllr Jo Rayner and Warren Smyth with some of the disability group
two ladies at poolside
Cllr Mary macLaren with Warren smyth and kids in swimming lesson
two ladies laughing together in pool