Mirfield family’s fight to save 150-year-old swimming club

SAD SWIMMER Graham MacDonald's son, Ciar, with Huddersfield Amateur Swimming Club every Monday.
SAD SWIMMER Graham MacDonald's son, Ciar, with Huddersfield Amateur Swimming Club every Monday.
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An 150-year-old amateur swimming club may be forced to fold within months due to leisure service policy, a member claims.

Graham MacDonald, of Heathfield, Mirfield, fears his sons, aged seven and 12, will not be able to enjoy swimming lessons anymore if Huddersfield Amatuer Swimming Club (HASC) closes down.

Mr MacDonald said Kirklees Active Leisure (KAL) were trying to force the club out of its Monday night slot, 6pm-8pm, to fit in with their ‘Aquatics Pathway’. The price of hiring the pool in John Smith’s Stadium rose from £120 to £300 this year and Mr McDonald said the club was being unfairly targeted. KAL said the standard hire price rate was for use of a public pool at peak time.

Mr MacDonald said: “We try to provide affordable swimming to keep children safe. Our membership costs £15 plus £3 if the kids turn up. KAL charge £19.95 whether you turn up or not.” KAL want HASC to stop teaching level one to five swimmers, who make up the majority of its 150 members, Mr MacDonald said. “If we don’t have any level one to fives, we don’t have a swimming club,” he added.

HASC have also been told they could move to another pool on a different day – but this would prove very difficult for HASC’s volunteer teachers, Mr McDonald said.

A KAL spokeswoman said they were working with all the swimming clubs in Kirklees to implement the ‘Aquatics Pathway’ to provide “clear development routes” for swimmers. “HASC have been one of the early swimming clubs that KAL have looked to work with to raise their standards and to provide an improved swimming experience and opportunity for local people,” she added.