Two South Hams pools have been given tens of thousands of pounds to make improvements and help slash “astronomical” energy bills.

Quayside Leisure Centre in Kingsbridge has received £77,000 to go towards variable speed pumps and to upgrade the building management system, while Dartmouth Open Air Pool has received £48,000 for solar panels and pool covers.

The projects will make both pools more resilient.

Cllr Victor Abbott, South Hams Executive Member for Community Services and Operations, welcomed the investment: “It’s brilliant that the District Council and its officers have secured funding for both Dartmouth and Quayside pools. They are both tremendous assets to their communities and this money will help ensure they continue to serve the people of the South Hams.

“Rising energy costs have hit us all, but leisure centres have felt these increases harder than most in recent years. It’s good to see this funding supporting centres across the country, as these facilities are hugely important to their communities.”

Jo Squires, Treasurer and Pool Manager of Dartmouth Open Air Pool, said the solar panels would help cut “astronomical” energy bills.

“We are very grateful to have been awarded £48,000 from the SPRS, as once the solar and cover are installed and all in working order, it will help to reduce our astronomic electricity bill, which was £33,000 for just the four months we are open.

“Without this money we would have to remain closed until the electricity prices came back down again. We are slowly modernizing our community pool, which has been there for 37 years. If it had to close it would be a loss to the locals who love it, as it provides a completely different swimming experience to the indoor pool.”

The funding comes from the Government and Sport England’s £60m capital investment programme.

264 local authorities have received a share of the funding, of which £20m has been provided by Sport England via the National Lottery and just over £40m has been provided by the Government as part of their commitment to support the long-term sustainability of public leisure.

Quayside Leisure Centre pool, Kingsbridge (QLC)