Please Help Our Community Club!
The global COVID-19 pandemic has created a very uncertain landscape for many sports clubs, which is going to make it very challenging for them to survive.
Wirral Metro Swimming Club has been deeply affected by Covid-19. We are a community club for the people of Wirral to succeed. The closure of our pools has not only had a huge physical and emotional impact on our swimmers; it has left us in a very difficult financial situation. Without support, our future looks bleak.
Who are Wirral Metro?
Wirral Metro is a performance swimming club in the heart of Birkenhead. The aim of the club is to identify swimmers living on the Wirral Peninsula and help them to realise their full potential. Losing this club would mean local community children would lose their only performance-based club.
Wirral Metro Swimming Club is run by a committee which is made up of parents and the swimming coaches. Many years ago we had support from the council, but this was withdrawn due to budget cuts so the club had to become self-sufficient. The club relies heavily on the money it makes at swimming galas to be able to pay for the expensive pool hire and the coaches fees. With all galas cancelled it is going to be difficult to pay the bills!
Even though we are a relatively small club, many of our swimmers make it to regional and national level. This requires more training than other clubs on the Wirral can offer. Some of our swimmers will train for up to 20 hours a week. Can you imagine the impact that lock-down has had on these athletes? We had swimmers due to swim at Olympic trials in April; North West Regional Championships in May; National Championships in July/August. We also have athletes training to swim at an International level that have been left unable to train, and with an uncertain future, if we can't get our pool times back.
Wirral Metro has a strong history of developing swimmers on the Wirral. This includes being the club that trained Freya Anderson for many years and supported her on her journey to become an international swimming champion. We also have a swimmer, Nathan Young, who is currently training for the Deaflympics 2021 and holds a number of British records.
We are proud of many of the achievements our swimmers make. Last year we had medalists in the Scottish and English Nationals; medalists in the National Open Water Championships; swimmers representing the county in National team Championships and school championships; swimmers taking part in Swim England National, Regional and County Talent Pathway Programmes; swimmers taking part in the DISE program, including swimming in Dubai; and swimmers gaining scholarships for universities. Swimmers at Wirral Metro currently hold the titles of English 100 Freestyle Champion and Scottish Breaststroke Champion in their age groups.
Impact of Covid-19
Covid-19 has not only damaged the club financially but it has stopped the swimmers from being able to train, being able to compete and being able to socialise and create sporting memories with their friends.
We are not a profit-making organisation and all the funds coming into the club cover pool hire, coaching fees and equipment.
Due to the lack of revenue coming into the club, we are already in a difficult financial position. During the lockdown, our coaches have tried to keep the swimmers on track by sending out land training sets. They have done this voluntarily and for this, we are very grateful.
We have tried to keep the swimming community together with a weekly Zoom quiz and coaches catch-ups and workouts.
However, the impact of this lockdown is huge. We have paid coaches whose livelihood is at stake if we cannot raise enough funds. With the pool offering reduced hours on our return it will be difficult to pay the coaches their full wage. Is this fair to the people who give so much of their time to the sport and the swimmers?
What Do We Offer Our Local Community?
Not only are Wirral Metro the only performance club for the people of Wirral and surrounding areas, but we also hold several large swimming galas each year bringing hundreds of swimmers and families each time from all around England and Wales. These events add to the local economy and as well as the club.
Looking ahead to the next stage, we are planning how we commence training again. We will need additional funds to manage a safe return to swimming (e.g. maximum pool time to accommodate social distancing measures, extra coaches poolside).
In order to support our club, we are launching a Crowdfunding campaign to bridge the financial issues now being faced, caused by the Coronavirus pandemic, and to help secure the future of the club.
The good news is that Sport England and Crowdfunder have now launched a fund to help clubs- there is up to 50% extra funding available. We have set a target of raising £5000 so are in with a chance of receiving up to £2500 from Sport England if successful.
All money raised will go directly back into the running of the club. We want Wirral Metro to continue to create swimmers of the future. Our club must succeed so please support us in any way you can.