SPORT Wales has announced that more than £3m worth of funding will be spent on making improvements at community sports facilities and leisure centres across Wales in the next few months, although Monmouthshire is set to miss out on specific spending.
Over £1.8m has been awarded to local authorities and leisure trusts so that a number of leisure centres can become more energy efficient – helping activities to remain affordable for communities to enjoy.
And a further £1.3m has been awarded to 13 projects elsewhere that will make opportunities to play sports including athletics, basketball and cricket more accessible and enjoyable.
All of the grants have been made possible thanks to a total £10.3m worth of capital funding for 2023-24 allocated to Sport Wales by the Welsh Government.
A total of 30 leisure centres – from Llantwit Major to Caernarfon – will benefit from upgrades that will reduce running costs while also making the buildings more environmentally-friendly, with three projects receiving £190,000 across the Monmouthshire county border in Powys.
Freedom Leisure Centres have been awarded nearly £98,000 for energy saving measures at 10 leisure centres in Powys, while Builth Wells and Rhayader swimming pools have been given £31,000 and £61,000 respectively for solar panels and other energy saving measures.
Elsewhere, a £200,000 grant awarded to Neath Port Talbot Council will enable energy efficient LED lighting to be installed at the leisure centres in Neath, Pontardawe and the Vale of Neath.
At Builth Wells Swimming Pool, energy bills will be slashed thanks to solar panels and loft insulation, while de-stratification fans and pool covers at Chirk Leisure Centre will help to conserve heat.
Organisations such as local authorities and sport governing bodies were invited to apply for funding in the autumn and Sport Wales prioritised projects that would make sport and physical activity more accessible for those who need it most.
Brian Davies, Sport Wales CEO, said: “The cost-of-living crisis, combined with the climate emergency, makes it more pressing than ever for investments to be made into leisure centre facilities which are so valued by the communities they serve.
“Each of these projects will significantly reduce long-term running costs at leisure facilities, enabling them to become more financially sustainable and able to continue providing affordable activities for local people. These projects will also generate sizeable carbon savings, helping to support Wales’ climate change targets.”
Deputy Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism, Dawn Bowden, said: “It’s excellent to see the funding being allocated across the country in ways which make sport more accessible to all, and improves the quality of sport in our communities.
"With no sign of the cost of living and cost of doing business abating any time soon, it’s imperative that funding is used to make these organisations that communities rely on more financially sustainable for the future.”
Some of the other projects that have received funding from Sport Wales include Welsh Boxing being awarded £30,000 to buy 20 multi-sport wheelchairs, Basketball Wales will use a £99,000 grant to renovate popular outdoor courts in Flint, Cardiff and Swansea, while Welsh Athletics has been awarded £225,000 to replace the Cwrt Herbert track in Neath.
In Swansea, the Muslim community will benefit from Cricket Wales’ successful application for £68,160 to transform the Swansea Mosque Community Sports Hall into an indoor cricket facility.
All of the grants have been made possible thanks to a total £10.3m worth of capital funding for 2023-24 which has been allocated to Sport Wales by the Welsh Government.
All grants are subject to certain terms and conditions being met. Some of the projects are already underway, while others are planned for the coming months.
Full details about all of the projects which have received funding can be found the Sport Wales website.