A sports club is back in the swim thanks to a community grant from Darlington Building Society.

Middlesbrough Amateur Swimming Club applied to the Society’s five per cent community fund, after suffering from a substantial loss of revenue during Covid-19.

Fundraising Officer, Lyndsey Coe, said: “Because the club had to close overnight once Covid hit, we lost a lot of revenue with not being able to hold any galas, and we made the decision to suspend monthly fees with our swimmers not being able train in the pool.

“We did what we could with dry land training through Zoom to maintain fitness levels, but now we are open again, our focus is to support our swimmers with their return to pool and getting back to competition standard. “

The club was awarded £520 to buy equipment to help their squad members to train, and regain their fitness, after the club’s re-opening.

“This grant has given us the opportunity to purchase ankle straps that will benefit nearly 100 swimmers across our squads, as well as helping us to protect our club reserves, while still supporting and challenging our swimmers in their return to pool training,” added Lyndsey.

The club was founded in 1886, and has swimmers of all ages competing in national and local competitions. It has had a number of successful swimmers through its doors, including Aimee Willmott, who is representing GB at the Tokyo Olympics.

“We can finally start to think about staging galas again, now that restrictions are lifting,” said Lyndsey. “This donation will allow us to invest in the fitness and continued support of our swimmers and their training.

“It also helps to protect our club funds to enable us to keep the club going. It’s really difficult for clubs like ours when income is slashed overnight. Awards like this help to boost our confidence and enthusiasm, and gives us the chance to challenge our swimmers to be the best they can be.”

Lisa Sidgwick, Manager of the Redcar and Northallerton branches of Darlington Building Society, said: “We are delighted to be able to help the club in this way. We know how much many clubs have suffered through the pandemic, and if our five per cent community fund can go some way to helping them to continue their great work, then it’s proved its value.”

Despite the economic challenges of the pandemic, Darlington Building Society will this year donate £60,000 to worthy organisations from profits generated during 2020. And County Durham Community Foundation, which administers the five per cent fund on behalf of the Society, has announced it will make an additional donation to bring the total handed out to at least £100,000.