Guisborough Amateur Swimming Club is on the starting blocks for a bright new future after winning support from charitable movement Teesside Philanthropic Foundation.
The long-established club’s hopes of nurturing a new generation of talented East Cleveland swimmers had taken a dive due to outdated equipment.
But a £2,000 Foundation donation, together with a series of fundraising events by swimmers and volunteers alike, means four new starting blocks and a backstroke ledge are now being used at five-times-a-week coaching sessions at Guisborough Swimming Club.
And club staff say the £5,000 purchase will ensure they can continue to make sessions available to talented swimmers, regardless of their family’s financial status.
Guisborough ASC received the £2,000 donation from the Foundation after receiving hundreds of votes in the charity’s popular Sporting Golden Giveaway poll that saw £20,000 shared between 15 Teesside sports groups.
More than 80 members, aged from just six to more than 50, from across Guisborough, Redcar, Eston and Boosbeck attend coaching sessions run by a small team of volunteer coaches
Club treasurer Jon Walton said the new equipment had replaced an old set of starting blocks that were more than 40 years old and no longer fit for purpose.
“Thanks to this hugely generous donation, the equipment will provide our swimmers with a fantastic opportunity to fine-tune their pool entry technique,” he said.
“It will help them to improve their personal best times that we hope will be fast enough to allow them to compete at regional and national level events.
“Recognition by the Foundation and its supporters of the enormous amount of time, effort and enthusiasm put in by the coaches and committee is hugely rewarding and serves to secure the future viability of the club.
“Making swimming accessible to all can be difficult but we want young people to be able to swim on merit, not on a basis of social status, especially as East Cleveland serves some of the most disadvantaged areas in the region.
The club topped up their £2,000 donation with a series of fundraising events including bag packs, race nights and sponsored swims.
Nigel Willis, of Foundation patrons, Redcar-based First Choice Labels, said: “Guisborough ASC is a fantastic club run by a team of brilliant volunteers who are committed to giving opportunities to the region’s young people.
“Our charity was delighted to be able to help the club purchase this vital new equipment, which I’m sure will benefit talented swimmers now and long into the future.”