Ponds Forge Targeting Early October For Long-Awaited Reopening

As a follow-up to one of our earlier reports on storied British swimming facility Ponds Forge being able to open, a target timeframe has now been established.

Last month we reported how Ponds Forge was set to be shuttered indefinitely. At the time, the not-for-profit-management company which runs the property, Sheffield City Trust (SCT), said the financial implication of the coronavirus pandemic was forcing the organization to make some difficult decisions.

However, there was a breakthrough in early September where, based on community need and aquatic club campaigning, Sheffield Council reversed course, intending to open Ponds Forge again pending a formal vote during its cabinet meeting on September 23rd. The outcome of the meeting renders the facility’s opening time frame confirmed, with the 2nd week of October as its target.

Although further detailed work needs to be completed on reopening plans before a final date can be confirmed,  Sheffield City Council’s cabinet has agreed to fund up to £1.6 million to SCT, allowing it to open.

Nikki Smith, Diving Manager for City of Sheffield Diving Club, has played a key role in the campaign to save Ponds Forge.

To Swim England Smith described the venue as a ‘second home’ to the athletes and coaches, not just of the diving club but also the swimming and water polo clubs.

When asked about the reopening, Smith said, “It’s going to be amazing, I think I’ll probably cry.

“It means everything, we’re absolutely thrilled. Hopefully, this is going to mean that all our members can start training properly again whether it’s just for fun or whether they’re on a programme.”

Explaining the excitement of the athletes, Nikki added: “I’m not even sure words can explain it to be honest, they’ve missed it so much.

“They’re used to training up to eight times a week, before school, after school. It feels like a huge part of their life has been missing.”

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About Retta Race

Retta Race

Swim analyst, businesswoman.

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