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Great News That Our Pools Can Re-Open

The charitable trust which manages two swimming pools in the city is starting a phased re-opening of both facilities to the public from April 12.

Lonsdale Swimming & Sports Trust manages Gayton Pool in Littleover on behalf of Derby City Council and also runs Lonsdale Pool in Mickleover, which it is currently hoping to replace with a new facility nearby.

Pre-lockdown, more than 3,000 people a week used the pools ranging from parent and baby sessions and children’s lessons to adult swim sessions and aquafit classes.

Now, from April 12 – thanks to funds from the National Leisure Recovery Fund, Gayton Pool will re-start children’s swimming lessons. From April 19 children’s sessions for adults and babies and pre-school children will also re-open.  Family fun sessions are organised in school holidays and these are earmarked for the May half-term week.

Meanwhile at Lonsdale Pool, adult lanes swimming, children’s lessons and the junior section of Derby Phoenix swimming club will return in the first phase.

As part of the government’s roadmap, adult sessions at the pools such as aquafit and senior clubs will not re-start until May 17 and the extended public sessions will also be re-introduced in school holidays.

Numbers in the pools and socially distanced at poolside will be limited for the foreseeable future with everyone asked to come ‘sport ready’ as changing room facilities will not be open.

A core team has continued the upkeep of the pools throughout lockdown and have been contacting families to re-book swimming lessons.

Manager Lynn Palmer said: “Everyday has been a school day and we have certainly had to be flexible and responsive to the changing situation over the past year.

“We are delighted that the April 12 relaxations have now been confirmed and we can’t wait to welcome people back to Gayton and Lonsdale pools.

“Our experience from when we were allowed to reopen last summer showed that our young swimmers and their parents/carers are very considerate and cooperative to the measures – appreciating that these are in place to ensure everyone’s safety.”

The pools provide term-time teaching sessions for more than 30 schools across the city and, since March 8, many have taken the opportunity to re-introduce sessions which are part of the National Curriculum.

These include Royal School for the Deaf Derby.  Headteacher Helen Shepherd said: “Some of our pupils are really keen swimmers and were delighted to be able to return to the pool. We also have some children with disabilities and being in the water allows them a freedom they don’t always have on land.

“Exercising has been hard for everyone during lockdown and so we are all very happy to be able to start swimming again. The children are really enjoying the gradual return to the activities they enjoy as lockdown eases and being back in the water is definitely one of their favourites.”

Lonsdale Swimming and Sports Trust chair Ian Cotter concluded: “As with other sports facilities, the stop/start over the past year has been very frustrating.

“April 12 will be a welcome start to our goal to Keep Derby Swimming and we all really hope that this will be the start of life getting back to normal.

“There will be a booking system in place which will also meet track and trace requirements and our goal is to make life as simple as possible for both staff and customers alike so that they can return to the water safely and responsibly.”

For more information about lessons and public sessions, please visit www.lsst.org.uk