Select Committee on Culture, Media and Sport Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence


Memorandum submitted by Worcester County Swimming Association



  The Worcester County Swimming Association is an affiliate of the Amateur Swimming Association and its area of benefit is the area covered by the local authorities of Worcestershire and Herefordshire and parts of the Metropolitan Districts of Dudley and Sandwell. The area has a total population of 1.2 million.

  Nineteen clubs are affiliated to the Association and they have a combined membership of 7,000. The organisation is run solely by volunteers, but on a professional basis.

  The key objective of the association is to work with clubs to promote the teaching and development of swimming, diving, water polo, synchronised swimming and life saving and to encourage County Championships and Competitions.

  Furthermore this objective includes the stimulation of public opinion in favour of providing proper accommodation and facilities for its work.


  It is an objective of the Amateur Swimming Association to have at least one eight lane 25 metre swimming pool, with adequate spectator accommodation in each county. This objective is fully supported by the Worcester County Association.

  The existing facilities in the area covered by the County Association, particularly for competitive swimming, are extremely poor. There is no 25 metre eight lane facility in the county.

  The most recent competitive pool to be built in the area covered by the County Association was 30 years ago, at Worcester. This is a six lane pool with a boom installed to create a 25 metre facility. The spectator facilities are insufficient to cater for major competition.

  The facilities in the County are so poor that most County Competitions have to be held outside the County, at Wolverhampton. This entails a 40 mile trip each way for many of our competitors.

  Discusssions about facilities have been held and continue with many of the District and Metropolitan authorities but we have not been able to engage sufficient interest to get proper competitive facilities built. Indeed in the last 20 years leisure facilities have replaced competitive facilities in some areas.

  There is strong support for, and the possibility of, an eight lane 25 metre pool being built by Redditch Borough Council but this still has to be finalised.

  Because Worcestershire has a two tier Local Government structure there does not seem to appear to be a countywide strategic plan in place between the authorities for swimming facilities. It is not possible for a relatively small volunteer organisation to undertake this planning. Indeed we believe such planning to be the responsibility of local Government.

  From the information we have so far it is not clear that the shortly be set up Local Strategic Partnerships will have as one of their early priorities the co-ordination of sporting facilities. However, this new initiative could be used through the planning and development of swimming facilities to encourage and enhance community development.

  We see the provision of good swimming pool facilities as central to the well being of communities and the encouragement of social inclusion. The large majority of our members are young people below 18. Through our activities we not only offer the opportunity for sporting achievement but the chance to build teams, enhance life skills and develop community involvement.


  1.  The provision of improved swimming facilities in Worcestershire including the provision of a 25 metre eight lane competitive swimming pool.

  2.  The Department of Culture, Media and Sport to encourage local authorities in the Worcester county area to work together to plan swimming pool facilities on a countywide basis.

  3.  Central Government, to encourage Local Authorities through Local Strategic Partnerships to make the provision of sporting facilities and particularly swimming pools central to the discussions with and the positive involvement of communities.

28 November 2001

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