Swimming club forced to find new base as pool stays shut until November

PUBLISHED: 11:37 20 July 2020 | UPDATED: 15:52 21 July 2020

Members of Dereham Otters Swimming Club.

Members of Dereham Otters Swimming Club.


A long-running swimming club is having to raise £10,000 and is looking for temporary venues after its home pool announced it would stay shut until November.

Dereham OttersDereham Otters

Dereham Otters, which was established in 1975 and has 120 swimmers, is seeking a temporary base as Dereham Leisure Centre announced it would not be reopening despite the government easing lockdown guidelines from July 25.

The centre, operated by Leisure Lex and Breckland Council, announced it would not reopen until November 2020 at the earliest as it is carrying our refurbishments.

Miles Ogden, chairman of Dereham Otters, said: “Unfortunately, due to Covid-19 our swimmers have been unable to access pools.

“Although we received the promising news that pools are able to reopen at the end of July, our home pool will not be able to do so due to maintenance issues.

Dereham Leisure Centre. Picture: ArchantDereham Leisure Centre. Picture: Archant

“This has left many of our swimmers concerned about the future of Dereham Otters and when we will be able to get back into the pool.”

A spokesman from Breckland Council said: “We’re taking this opportunity to carry out essential maintenance at Dereham pool, which requires full draining and retiling.

“Consequently, that facility is currently expected to remain closed until towards the end of November.

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“Thetford’s pool is currently expected to reopen to schools and clubs in September and to the public from October.”

The news, which came as a surprise to the club, means it is looking for other venues to use on a temporary basis.

“Dereham Otters will not disband,” Mr Ogden said. “We are actively looking for other venues that can help us out on a temporary basis.

“This includes, up front costs that private pools require and funds needed for remote strength and conditioning classes.

“We are a parent run club and simply don’t have the financial reserves to see us through a crisis of this duration.”

To help get their swimmers back in the pool the club is trying to raise £10,000, which will be put towards the extra costs.

Mr Ogden said: “We are also in the process of crowdfunding to help our swimmers get back in the pool.

“The challenge is to run, hop, skip, jump, cycle or swim the distance from London to Tokyo, a total of 10,746 miles, the equivalent to £1 a mile to reach our target of £10,000.

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