Sports centre saved for two more years

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A funding shortfall which threatened the future of Deeping Leisure Centre could be plugged.

South Kesteven District Council has vowed to step in after Lincolnshire County Council said it would not continue its £124,000 a year injection into the centre when the current agreement ends in March 2014.

The county council has provided the grant to provide swimming facilities for school children for more than 30 years but took the decision to end its support due to budget restraints.

With the leisure centre facing a funding black hole district councillors Phil Dilks and Judy Stevens, representing Deeping St James, have been working behind the scenes to find a solution.

Last week a spokesman for the district council said: “We are disappointed that the county council is withdrawing funding but our commitment to sport and leisure throughout the district remains very strong and we will meet the shortfall until the end of the contract with our leisure providers in 2016.”

The district council currently pays £262,000 towards the running of the facility and Leisure Connection, which runs the centre, also contributes funding.

Councillors have been jointly working behind the scenes for the last 18 months to help find a way of keeping the centre open.

Coun Dilks said: “It is good news that the district council has picked up the slack.

“If it hadn’t stepped in there is no doubt that closure was a serious option, which would have been a real blow.

“I want to say thank you to the officers at South Kesteven who have worked hard to find a solution.”