A funding boost for two of Wrexham’s leisure centres has been defended amid criticism that the authority had snubbed a community-run facility.
Earlier this week Wrexham.com reported that a £1m funding deal to improve leisure facilities at Chirk and Waterworld had been described as a ‘spiteful snub’ and a ‘kick in the teeth’ by volunteers / politicians involved with community-run Splash Magic.
The leisure centre, which was formerly known as Plas Madoc, was taken over by a team of volunteers after the centre was closed in April 2014 as part of Wrexham Council’s ongoing budget cuts. The leisure centre later reopened at the end of 2014 as Splash Magic.
Following the funding announcement Wrexham Council’s decision to not include Splash Magic in their successful bid was questioned – with calls for the authority to allow the leisure centre access to some of the funding.
Questions were also raised about the timing of the grant, with Wrexham’s leisure centres (excluding Splash Magic) recently being taken over by ‘Freedom Leisure‘, a not-for-profit trust.
However the funding application has been defended by Cllr Hugh Jones, Lead Member for Communities and Partnerships, who said: “At the time the application for this loan was put together, Waterworld and Chirk were operated by Wrexham County Borough Council.
“Splash Magic Trust has made an application to the Welsh Government for capital funding, and we have given them financial support to enable them to make that application.
“Officers are currently working closely with Splash Magic to enable them to maximise their financial potential.”