Leanne Fitzsimons-Ledwith; Linda Ledwith, Manager at Bailieborough Swimming and Leisure Centre, and Hayley Caffrey.

New manager making a splash

The newly-appointed manager of Bailieborough Swimming and Leisure Centre has thanked the community and surrounding areas for their wholesome support of the local facility.

Linda Ledwith’s comments follow what had been a difficult 12 months for the Bailieborough centre after lockdowns left it financially stricken and there were genuine concerns that it might never open again.

When Bailieborough pool first closed to the public at the start of the pandemic, the centre had €85,000 in its coffers. But with costs of up to €6,000 per month to maintain the complex, those reserves were soon drained.

Luckily the centre was the recipient of significant grant support to help tie things over and, since reopening their doors to the public on June 8 last, the business has gone from strength to strength.

Linda has worked her way up through the ranks over the past 20 years, having served as assistant manager to the departed Mary McConnell.

She paid tribute to Ms McConnell, and also to Bailieborough Swimming and Leisure Centre’s “brilliant” board of management, for successfully steering the ship through turbulent times.

Now, Linda is excited to see the centre continue to serve the community, the purpose for which it was originally set up.

“The majority of our members are back now. Just to see them coming back through the door is a real boost.”

Interest in lessons is “flat out” too, with the centre fully booked now until the end of December. “There will be no new bookings until at least January for group lessons, and we’re taking bookings now for those in the next two weeks.”

She believes that the loss in many people’s lives of a safe and secure fitness outlet such as the Bailieborough Swimming and Leisure Centre during the pandemic, has emphasised the importance of the local facility.

“A lot of people as well during the lockdowns would have even taken into looking at their own fitness and, now that things have opened up that bit more, are looking for ways of working on that. So Bailieborough Swimming and Leisure Centre is an ideal place for that. For people’s mental health, along with everything else, the loss of the centre during lockdown was a big thing. It has just been a huge benefit to have it back, and we’ve received huge support from everyone,” said Linda.

* For a detailed Christmas feature on Bailieborough Town, see this week's print edition of The Anglo-Celt.