A THIRTY-year-old local swimming club is at risk of closure following a massive price hike in pool hire.
Castle Bromwich Swimming Club has been offering the lessons at North Solihull Sports Centre baths for the past three decades.
But now the 100-strong member club’s very survival is at risk after they received a bill for £480 for the month of January, a 60 per cent increase.
“I thought there was no way we would be able to pay that,” said chair Ken Clifford.
“We had no prior knowledge of the enormous increase. We have been put in the desperate position that we may have to close our club after almost 33 years.”
After meeting with centre manager Andy Smith, Ken was informed January’s bill was incorrect and they would not be charged the increase.
But the chair says the charges would rise from £70 a week to £120 in a phased introduction to be completed by September.
A spokesperson for Solihull Council, which uses Parkwood Leisure as its leisure centre management contractor, said: “Parkwood Leisure is working with the swimming club to resolve the charging for the use of the pool at North Solihull Sports Centre.”
But Ken argued the increase was still due to go ahead, which would leave the club making a loss of £20 or more per week.
“Over recent years we have been unable to absorb small increases and therefore have consistently been running at a loss.
“We may have to consider increasing our prices but we fear that people might not come any more.
“We’ve always tried to be affordable so everyone has the opportunity to come and swim. Perhaps we have been victims of our own success by being a non-profit club and keeping our fees to a minimum.”
The club, which runs every Tuesday, was founded by original members of Castle Bromwich Residents’ Association with support from the local parish council.
The club are now appealing for sponsorship from local businesses or grants to help them continue.
If you can help, or would like to enquire about becoming a member, contact Ken on 0121 681 4436 or Richard on 0121 747 6921.