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Elected members are to consider a proposal to transform the way school pools are operated by Falkirk Council to deliver £400,000 of additional income and make the pools cheaper to operate. 

In early 2023 Council asked officers to review the school pools across Falkirk and identify ways to cut costs, increase income and reduce carbon emissions.  

The proposal to be considered at next week’s Council meeting would see an expansion of the Learn to Swim Scheme which teaches children and adults to be more confident, safer and competent in water – and ultimately save lives.  

It will also look to raise charges for commercial businesses who hire the pools, as well as raise charges for local aquatic clubs to the national average rather than the very low prices they have been paying to date. 

There are further recommendations to streamline operations by adopting a new, standardised pricing structure for all school pools, and more simple booking process.  

And finally, a new project will be taken forward to increase access to school pools at the end of the school day. Currently community access begins at 6pm but given most school activities finish around 4.45pm there is an opportunity to increase the available pool hours for the public. 

The review recognises the critical role swimming plays in the physical, emotional, and mental health of Falkirk communities and so recommends that the price of public swimming is protected. A modest 30p increase is proposed. 

GoCard holders, the council’s concessionary membership scheme, continue to receive free swimming, in all public swimming sessions. GoCard membership is free to join, with no other fees attached to card holders who do not wish to access the Health and Fitness gyms.  

Malcolm Bennie, Director of Place Services said: “Falkirk Council is fortunate to have so many school swimming pools, and this review proposes ways we can maximise those assets to generate income that helps with the operating costs. 

“We all know how much utility bills have risen in recent years, and swimming pools remain very expensive to operate. This review recognises that and seeks to expand our Learn to Swim scheme, increase charges for commercial operators, ask aquatic clubs to pay the national average for hires, and increase access to pools earlier to expand our opportunities for lets. 

“At the same time, we are proposing to protect public swimming with a very low price increase, as well as continue our GoCard concession giving free swimming to those aged 65+, those on welfare support, students, Asylum Seekers, and those who are looked after or under Kinship Care.

“It is now up to Councillors to consider these proposals and determine if they represent the best course of action.” 

You can read the full report here.