A SWIMMING pool run by volunteers is losing money because of a lack of public interest.

The indoor pool at Highworth Recreation Centre will celebrate its first birthday on Sunday.

But it is running at a loss and Highworth Recreation Centre Charitable Trust believes only two per cent of the town’s 10,000 people are using the service.

Ann Lewis, the marketing officer for Highworth Recreation Centre, said: “It is hugely disappointing.

“We thought it would take a while for people to get used to us, or people weren’t used to swimming all year round in Highworth.

“Or we thought it might have been because in the recession people couldn’t afford it, but it’s not picked up.”

The centre, at The Elms, Highworth, is a joint venture between Swindon Council and the centre’s management committee, in association with Highworth Town Council.

The pool, the community hall and the gym are owned by the Highworth Recreation Centre Charitable Trust, a group of volunteers.

A major refurbishment saw an existing pool close for three years before the new all-weather facility was opened last year.

However, the pool was plagued by technical problems until December, and its grand unveiling also had to be postponed due to a broken thermostat.

Miss Lewis said: “In the past it was like bees round a honey pot.

“Maybe it is because we have got a roof on the pool – some people wanted it open air.

“Or maybe people are falling out of love with swimming – we are not the only ones struggling.”

Gym attendance at the centre is healthy, but the pool is under used, aside from swimming and scuba-diving clubs and classes.

The trustees have made several attempts to attract the public through the doors, including creating promotional pieces in-house, running full page stories in the Highworth Link magazine and running assemblies in schools.

Offers, including £29 unlimited swimming for six weeks and £10 a month unlimited swimming for children, have also failed to entice enough people in to balance the books.

“It’s a bright and sunny day and I have got six people in the swimming pool – there should be queues out the door,” said Miss Lewis.

“We’re just baffled. We want to know what people want.”

Miss Lewis said if the situation does not improve the centre may re-consider its programme and start running specific sessions and classes rather than just opening the pool for general swimming .

For information on the facility visit www.highworthrec.co.uk.