Pelican Centre celebrating five years of success

Chairman Trevor Barton and business manager Natalia Stothard welcome Sport Englands chairman Nick Bithel to the pool
Chairman Trevor Barton and business manager Natalia Stothard welcome Sport Englands chairman Nick Bithel to the pool

A community-run swimming pool and social hub is celebrating five years of being successfully run by a team of volunteers.

The Pelican Centre in Tyldesley has gone from strength to strength since local people stepped in when Wigan Council announced it could no longer afford to run the venue in 2012.

The Pelican continues to go from strength to strength

The Pelican Group director Paul Costello

Becoming a charity in 2015, the group has ensured Tyldesley residents still have somewhere to swim on their doorsteps when many facilities across the country have closed.

More recently the team in charge at the Castle Street facility used funding from Wigan Council’s The Deal to transform the back room into a gym, space for community groups and a youth zone.

A whole host of grass-roots organisations now use the facility and the organisers say they are far from finished with further expansion plans.

The Pelican Group director Paul Costello said: “The Pelican continues to go from strength to strength.

“The new facilities including a gym will be a year old on May 1 and the aquatic side of the centre continues to grow with nearly 2,000 attendances per week.

“The Pelican is well embedded in the community hosting classes from baby massage and mini wrigglers to armchair yoga.

“We also have further plans to modernise the reception and improve the inside of the pool hall.”

The Pelican has secured the support of leading community figures, with Trevor Barton serving as chairman and Leigh MP Andy Burnham and Wigan Council leaders and elected representatives lending their backing.

The centre successfully applied for £384,000 to turn the former storage area and billiard hall into a social hub with state-of-the-art fitness equipment and places for vulnerable people to meet and take part in activities.

The Pelican is also branching out into culture provision this year with a Tyldesley branch of the popular Afternoon Classic Cinema Club in Leigh starting in June and the Leigh Short Film Festival arriving with a special screening of Disney movie Moana being beamed into the pool hall.

The volunteers have also been supported over the five years by organisations including Sport England, the Coalfields Regeneration Trust, Astley Rotary Club and Tyldesley Masons as well as the town hall. Tyldesley Swimming and Water Polo club, based at the venue, has also prominently backed the group.