A LEADING councillor is celebrating a £425,000 Government cash injection to boost energy efficiency at a “vital” leisure centre in an effort to help to keep running costs down.

Clements Hall Leisure Centre in Clements Hall Way, Hawkwell, will use the second phase of Government funding for a range of initiatives including the installation of a state-of-the art pool cover to reduce heating costs.

It is hoped the cash boost will allow the centre to make improvements which will make it “even more attractive to prospective operators” when the current contract with Fusion Lifestyle ends in April next year.

The latest boost comes following a previous £100,000 investment in the first phase of funding, from Sport England, to support its facilities.

Echo: Rochford Council is looking for a new operator to run Clements Hall Leisure Centre.Rochford Council is looking for a new operator to run Clements Hall Leisure Centre. (Image: Julie Gooding)


Julie Gooding, Rochford councillor responsible for leisure, tourism and wellbeing, is “thrilled” with the news.

She said: “Clements Hall is a highly valuable centre that plays a vital role in supporting the physical and mental wellbeing of our residents. Thanks to funding like this, it can continue to do so.”

Sport England is investing in leisure centres throughout the country “to ensure the wellbeing of our people”, Mrs Gooding says.

She added: “That is paramount. In turn, that should reduce health issues.

“They will be having a new electronic pool cover, which will make it easier to move. That will be a brilliant asset to the building. It will also keep the heating, which is beneficial as it is really expensive to warm up.”

However, Mrs Gooding says the new pool cover is “only the tip of the iceberg”, as more improvements are planned in due course.

She added: “I’ve been focusing on making it accessible to all. I’ve been talking to stakeholders and residents to get their views, which have all been fed back to the council. It’s important for us to know the needs of our residents.”

As a new contractor is being sought to take over running the centre next year, Mrs Gooding says the improvements will make it more attractive to prospective companies.

She said: “In a cost-of-living crisis, everyone’s been struggling for costs. It’s hit leisure centres dreadfully.

“This funding will contribute to ensuring overheads are reduced, so whoever takes it on will get a better deal. 

“This makes it far more attractive to a potential operator.”