Swimmers across the district are set to benefit from Hambleton District Council’s ‘Making a Difference’ fund.
Northallerton Amateur Swimming Club (NASC) has been awarded £3,500 to help develop their ‘Step into Swimming’ project which aims to give swimmers access to specialist equipment, further training, workshops and most importantly, an introduction to competitive skills for new swimmers.
The community-based club has topped up the grant with money from its own 2019 fundraising efforts, to buy state of the art starting blocks – the first of its type in Hambleton.
The blocks which have been custom built for Bedale Leisure Centre will be used at ‘step into swimming’ training workshops hosted by the NASC coaching team, once restrictions in the sport are eased under Swim England’s guidance.
Greg Ient, Head Coach of the club, said: “The council's support during the COVID-19 pandemic has been exemplary. The grant allows the club, and indeed swimmers from across the district, to have access to the facilities needed to progress in the sport. We are looking forward to offering training workshops as part of the ‘Step into Swimming’ programme to swimmers actively participating in the district's clubs and those considering the step. We hope the improvements made to the facilities will help retain people in the district for the sport.”
Cllr Mrs Bridget Fortune, portfolio holder for Leisure who supported the grant application said: “Over the past 10 years the club has significantly developed, and this project will allow them to extend that development across the district. Local swimmers will now have access to training and competition facilities usually reserved for larger venues. In turn, the club will be able to support future generations of young talent. It is great to be able to support a club like this with one of our council grants that will make a real difference.”
The start of the scheme which was applied for in January 2020 has been delayed due to the restrictions imposed by COVID-19, but it’s hoped there will be opportunities for swimmers from clubs around the district to sign up to the workshops at Bedale Leisure Centre as restrictions ease.
The cash for the ‘Making a Difference’ scheme comes from ongoing cost savings that councillors are reinvesting into the local community. Each scheme must meet one of the council’s key priorities – driving economic vitality, enhancing health and wellbeing, caring for the environment and providing a special place to live. And each must show that there is community involvement and represents value for money.