AN East Lancashire leisure centre has been given a government grant of £66,960 to help with the running costs of its swimming pool.

The money will go to Rawtenstall's Marl Pits Leisure Centre to help offset rising operating costs.

The grant from the government’s Swimming Pool Support Fund has been welcomed by Rossendale's Conservative MP Jake Berry and the borough council's Labour leader Cllr Alyson Barnes.

The fund was announced at the March Budget with the first £20million going to the swimming pools and leisure centres most at risk of closure or significant service reduction and will be used to help with the recent rise in energy costs, such as paying towards immediate maintenance costs, heating, and pool chemicals.

Operating costs of swimming pools and leisure facilities, alongside general inflationary pressure, have increased considerably over recent months.

Mr Berry said: "It’s welcome news that Marl Pits is to benefit from over £66,000 from the government's Swimming Pool Support Fund towards the running costs of the pool.

"This means we can manage the increase in the cost of energy as a result of the war in Ukraine and keep access to swimming facilities in our Valley.

“I’m also backing Rossendale Conservatives and their campaign to build a new pool in Haslingden as well as supporting the community's efforts in Whitworth to reopen theirs."

Rossendale Council’s chief executive Rob Huntington said: "We welcome the funding which supports the ongoing operational costs of running Marl Pits, made more challenging by the cost of living crisis that everyone is facing at the moment.

"We have also submitted an application to the second tranche of this funding for investment in making our leisure centres more energy efficient.”

Cllr Barnes said: “Of course this great news and we welcome any money into the council, which was won by the council and our officers.

“Council finances have been decimated since the Conservative government came into power, and as a council we have lost millions of pounds in real terms every year since 2010 - money which should have been used for services to help improve the lives of our residents.

"And let's not also forget that Mr Berry was Party Chairman when the disastrous Truss leadership crashed our economy and brought about the cost of living crisis, we’re now all having to deal with."