Ludlow Swimming Club appeals for financial support to help it stay afloat
A swimming club is appealing to members of the public to help fund its pool hire fees for 2024, as a drop in membership numbers and rising costs have hit hard.
Ludlow Swimming Club, which has been running for 30 years, is now under financial threat due to a fall in membership and the rising cost of pool hire, as a result of Covid and the cost-of-living crisis.
It's a registered charity run by a small group of volunteers and involves around 70 paid members between the ages of 8 and 18 who come to improve their technique and to socialise.
It's also where GB swimmer and British Champion in backstroke, 20-year-old Oliver Morgan, started out before going on to win Gold at the 2023 British Swimming Championships.
David Johnson, treasurer of the club said: "It all started from Covid really and during Covid everything stopped and then the membership numbers didn't return to what they were before Covid which I think a lot of clubs experienced.
"And then obviously the costs have gone up including the pool hire which goes to Teme Leisure. They have done all they can to keep it as low as possible but it's looking like it's going to increase again next year."
When asked about the impact of the Club if it were to close, David said: "That's 60 to 70 children losing out on something they are passionate about.
"Some of them turn up five times a week – weekends and evenings – and some of them are trying to compete but some are just there for friendship and for the fun of it."
Before the Covid pandemic, the Club had in the region of £20,000 in savings to put towards the cost of hiring the pool, which has now nearly run out.
The pool hire amounts to £20,000 per year and while the Club has been able to continue thanks to financial reserves from previous years, this is no longer possible.
The Club is looking to attract new members and is appealing for donations to help cover the cost for 2024 – to keep the Club up-and-running.
"We are hoping to run a band night at Ludlow Brewery who have been helping out massively for us and offering the venue for free and we will also be doing a sponsored swim," David added.
Some of the younger members of the club have been running their own fundraiser events, including Callen who swam 26 miles over three weeks and has raised more than £1000 so far.
By reaching their target of £20,000, the Club will be able to free up members subscriptions to buy new equipment and train new and existing voluntary coaches.
With more trained coaches and officials, they will be able to run gala events and raise income for the club.
To make a donation, visit Crowdfunder.co.uk.