Debenham: Sport England match funding means building work can start on new Debenham Community Swimming Pool

Celebrations after a grant has been made to the Debenham Swimming Pool at Sir Robert Hitcham Primary School in Debenham. Celebrations after a grant has been made to the Debenham Swimming Pool at Sir Robert Hitcham Primary School in Debenham.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014
10:11 AM

It is time to start splashing the cash in Debenham as work on a brand new swimming pool prepares to get underway.

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How the money was raised for Debenham’s new pool

As well as the £109,000 from Sport England the Debenham Community Swimming Pool group have raised money through other grants and special events.

They needed to find half the money themselves and will carry on looking for cash to help equip the facility once it is built.

Suffolk County Council’s Corporate Regeneration Fund: £22,500

Mid-Suffolk District Council: £20,000

The Bernard Sunley Foundation: £10,000

Debenham Parish Council: £1,500

Adnams: £1,000

County Councillor Eddy Alcock’s locality budget: £750

Sub-total: £55,750

Since they started fundraising the group has held bingo nights, quizzes, and music nights.

They’ve also organised a running event, several ladies’ pamper evenings and a treasure hunt.

From these events around £10,000 has been raised.

Add that to the £55,750 grant funding and the £109,000 from Sport England and the pool’s grand total so far is around £174,750.

For decades school children in the village have been using an old unheated, outdoor pool at Sir Robert Hitcham School which has now closed.

But two years ago a group of residents got together to push for a new indoor facility costing around £220,000.

And now fundraisers are celebrating a huge milestone in the project’s timeline – having enough money to start building the pool.

Almost half of the money needed for the project was pledged by Sport England, but only if fundraisers could match it themselves.

Now though the group has been boosted by confirmation they will be given £109,000 by the government-backed organisation and has recruited a project manager to help move the project forward.

Sacha Feeney-Howells, chairman of Debenham Community Swimming Pool’s management committee, said the money they raised had come from a variety of sources.

“We’ve been fundraising for a couple of years,” she said.

“It (the financial target) seemed like a long way off. It was an awful lot of bingo nights and quizzes.”

As well as holding fundraising events in order to raise the cash some of the money also came from other sources of grant funding, including cider makers Aspall and Suffolk County Council.

“There’s an awful lot of money out there,” Ms Feeney-Howells said. “You just have to know where to look.

“We’ve had overwhelming support. The community has been amazing. We’ve had a lot of help from our own and surrounding parish councils.

“It’s definitely a community spirited project.”

Now building work is set to go ahead the Debenham Community Swimming Pool management hope an official opening could happen in the not-too-distant future.

“We’d like to start ASAP and hopefully have it finished by 2015,” Ms Feeney-Howells said.

“It’s been a long slog and a huge learning curve. We’ve had so ups and downs but the fact we’ve got so much support just boosts your morale.”

One of the groups who will benefit from the new pool will be the Sir Robert Hitcham school’s swim team, who recently placed third in the Suffolk School Games.

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