Leisure

Jubilee Park in Woodhall Spa is calling on support from the government, as well as encouraging the public to come along this summer, as running costs look set to soar out of control.

The rising cost of living has affected communities across the country, and it would seem that even companies and landmarks are feeling the squeeze too.

It is estimated by Jubilee Park that their running costs for utilities at the pool and park could soar from £50,000 a year to £160,000 a year – an increase of more than 200%, as per current variable rates for the likes of gas and electricity.

It comes at a difficult time for Jubilee Park, having recently had to splash out £70,000 on two new boilers to heat the open air swimming pool – as the current boilers are more than 30 years old and needed replacing.

Jubilee Park Woodhall Spa. | Photo: Jubilee Park Woodhall Spa website

The purchasing of the new boilers has been planned for some time, and money has been set aside to cover the costs by trustees, though other projects and routine maintenance have had to be delayed or cancelled as a result.

Operations director Joe Stanhope told The Lincolnite: “As a charity that doesn’t currently receive any public funding towards running costs we are looking very carefully at how we can reduce the utility costs and increase footfall.

“Making people aware that our pools are lovely and warm whatever the weather and encouraging people to use us more frequently are two of the main things we want to do this year.

“This tied in with new boilers and looking at renewable energy are all high on the agenda, although with significant outlay needed to be put into place.

“It’s very difficult to comment on the finances moving forwards as we just don’t know what impact these will have yet or in fact how much the utilities will be.”

Jubilee Park is now calling on government support for the industry, as it is revealed leisure income is classed as exempt from VAT, which means VAT will not be charged for the customers, but must still be paid by the company.

Joe added: “We would like the government to help leisure charities like ours. There are a number of ways they could do this in our opinion.

“Grants for renewable energy or alternative energy specifically aimed at leisure centres and swimming pools. Also looking at why leisure income such as swimming or fitness income is classed as exempt from VAT rather than zero rated.

“Being exempt means we don’t charge VAT on our services, but we have to pay VAT on our costs. If we were zero rated we still wouldn’t charge VAT on our services and could get credited back for the VAT we pay on our costs.”

Active Lincolnshire is set to receive a five-year funding boost of almost £3 million to level up sport and physical activity.

A £2.7 million grant has come from Sport England, with Active Lincolnshire receiving expertise and support as well as government and National Lottery funding over the next five years.

Active Lincolnshire is among a group of more than 120 organisations working with Sport England to deliver its ambitious 10-year ‘Uniting the Movement’ strategy.

It comes after research showed some groups are less typically active – such as women, people with long term health conditions and disabilities, as well as those form ethically diverse or lower socio-economic backgrounds.

The aim of Sport England is to plug that gap and offer more opportunities to all that want to get active, irregardless of their gender, bank balance or postcode.

The sporting body elected the organisations across the country based on their ability to influence change at the heart of their system, with Active Lincolnshire standing out from the crowd in that regard.

Tim Hollingsworth, CEO of Sport England, said: “Sport England’s goal is to get everyone active– no matter who they are, where they live, or what their background is.

“But we know that certain groups – like women, older adults, people with long-term health conditions, people with a disability, people from ethnically diverse communities and lower socio-economic groups are more likely to be inactive.

“We can only innovate and tackle inequalities effectively by thinking about long-term change; Uniting the Movement is a long-term vision, and our funding approach needs to reflect that.

“Changes to our funding model will help us achieve our goal, by making it easier for our partners to do what they need to do to level up and deliver.”

Emma Tatlow, chief executive of Active Lincolnshire said “This very welcome five-year investment from Sport England enables Active Lincolnshire to provide the strategic coordination and communication for physical activity. We connect across multiple sectors, enabling people to build physical activity into their own work.

“Our role is around influence, advocacy and bringing organisations together to create long term sustainable change. We aim to tackle inequalities that people face in participation, advocating for equity and to really understand the people we are working to support.

“The Let’s Move Lincolnshire movement is a collaborative response to tackling the challenge of inactivity; and the Sport England investment into Active Lincolnshire will enable us to drive that strategy forward.”

The ‘world’s biggest’ Hydroclimb has been added at Lincoln Water Park, testing people’s upper body strength and balance skills in a fun and interactive way – and The Lincolnite went to try it out.

The water park in Thorpe on the Hill reopened to the public on the May Bank Holiday weekend, with the brand new Hydroclimb feature opening on Saturday, May 7. It comes after the site opened in 2019 but closed for the winter in October 2021, returning with major investment for the summer.

Hydroclimb, designed by the park’s co-founder Mika Haylot, boasts rock climbing walls, balance beams, rope climbs and much more, as you try to navigate your way around the tricky course.

Hydroclimb is believed to be the largest of its kind on the planet, and failure to complete the obstacle results in taking a dip in the water! | Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

It is a great team building exercise. | Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

The obstacles are colour coordinated based on difficulty, meaning you can take on easy, medium or hard tasks suited to your ability or confidence levels on the Hyrdroclimb.

It will be open every weekend from now until the summer holidays, when it will then open daily in the warmer weather for people of all ages.

Inspired by Total Wipeout, as you can see. | Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

The gruelling climbing wall. | Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

As well as the introduction of Hydroclimb, which is believed to be the biggest feature of its kind in the entire world, there have been additional obstacles added to the original water park area.

These include new slides and jumps, as well as doubling up on popular items such as the swing and balance activities, along with lifeguard features to provide easier access should somebody need assistance.

It didn’t always go to plan for The Lincolnite reporter Ellis Karran, but he had fun doing it! | Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

Ellis spent more time in the water than he’d like to admit. | Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

As part of a preview of the new features, The Lincolnite reporter Ellis Karran went over to the water park to try out Hydroclimb and the new slides, as part of an event with the Lincoln City Foundation.

Lincoln Water Park recently joined forces with Lincoln City FC in a gold partnership to become the Imps’ new ticketing partner.

Andrew Whitham, director of commercial affairs at Lincoln City, said: “We’re really pleased to welcome onboard Lincoln Water Park as a gold partner. I’m sure it’s a partnership that will be long lasting and bring great value to both parties.”

There were thrills and spills on the obstacle course but so much fun was had, despite falling off into the water on multiple occasions!

Big slides, high drops and various obstacles. | Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

New features, larger space, more fun on the horizon. | Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

Andrew Nightingale, co-founder at Lincoln Water Park, said: “It’s awesome to see people trying out and enjoying the Hydroclimb. It’s been a long time coming and good to see our hard work finally coming to fruition.

“We’re confident of it being a success and have good hopes that people will turn out in numbers and have fun using our facilities.”

Don’t get wobbly legs up there, because you know where you’ll end up! | Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

Hyrdroclimb is situated next to the Aqua Park area. | Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

You can book a slot at Lincoln Water Park by visiting the website, with each activity (the Aqua Park and the Water Warrior Hydroclimb) costing £17.50 per person or £30 for both.

The Lincolnite photographer Steve Smailes came to Lincoln Water Park to capture the madness!

The look of one particular Lincolnite reporter who doesn’t realise what they’ve got themselves into. | Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

| Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

| Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

| Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

| Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

| Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

| Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

| Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

| Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

| Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

| Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

| Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

| Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

| Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

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