Ponds Forge clarifies leisure pool schedule after families expecting a mid-week swim are turned away

It included a £500,000 revamp to remove a set of flumes and install new features including a wave machine and a disability-friendly pool.

However, a number of parents have expressed disappointment to The Star this week after arriving at the center for a weekday swim and finding they could not freely use the leisure pool.

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A few families were disappointed this week when they arrived at Ponds Forge hoping for a midweek swim, but didn’t know there was a booking system.

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The newly-renovated leisure pool, as well as the swimming lanes, are now controlled by a booking system.

But some parents still feel there are now less opportunities in the week for them and their children to swim.

One dad, who asked not to be named, said: “It’s great to have the pool open again but it’s a shame it’s not available more during the week for families.

The Surf City leisure swimming pool at Ponds Forge in Sheffield reopening after a £500,000 refurbishment, having been closed since July 2021. A surfboard on display beside the baby pool and disability friendly pool

“I was hoping to take my son there this week. The pool in Hillsborough’s good but it’s not easy to get to if you’re on the other side of the city.”

The leisure pool at Ponds Forge is open to everyone on weekends by booking in for ‘leisure swim’ on its website. It is also open in this way throughout school holidays.

However, during the week, mornings are broken into 30 to 60 minute slots for specific groups, including Under-5s, adult swim, ladies only and accessible swim.

In the afternoon, the leisure pool is largely given over to schools for swimming lessons.

There are seven ‘Little Swimmers’ slots, two ‘Ladies Only’, one ‘Mobility swim’ and one ‘dementia friendly swim’.

These all last on average 45 minutes and are all held before noon. There are no bookable slots on any afternoon or evening.

A spokesperson for Sheffield City Trust, who manages the centre, said: “In the afternoons the leisure pool at Ponds Forge is used for schools swimming and then swimming lessons in the evenings.

“We currently have over 600 children at Ponds Forge on swimming lessons each week plus the school sessions. Our swimming pools are very busy so it’s a balancing act for specific groups and community use, but all our water space is heavily utilized.

“For further information, the two swimming pools at Ponds Forge are available throughout the week (both weekdays and weekends). The newly reopened leisure pool (Surf City) has the largest weekday program it has offered for some time. The pool is used daily for a variety of usage across community and children’s groups.

“The specific leisure features are available through the week during school holidays and all weekends. Our Hillsborough venue offers leisure swimming facilities (eg, waves and flumes) at the Beach pool throughout the week (both weekdays and weekends).

“We work hard to offer a balanced and accessible program of activities throughout the week to maximize the utilization of all water space across our venues. Also, as part of our recent membership improvements, all members can now use any venue so they can swim at any of our pools.”

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Mike Hunter

Mike is the owner of the local pool shop. He's been in the business for over 20 years and knows everything there is to know about pools. He's always happy to help his customers with whatever they need, whether it's advice on pool maintenance or choosing the right chemicals. He's also a bit of a pool expert, and is always happy to share his knowledge with anyone who's interested.

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