A Norfolk council has been handed more than £250,000 to fund major improvements on a leisure centre.

Breckland Council has been awarded just under £265,000 to make Dereham Leisure Centre more efficient and environmentally-friendly. 

As part of a scheme that will see over 300 swimming pools and leisure centres receive funding from the government and Sport England’s £60 million capital investment programme, solar panels will be mounted on the roof of the building to help meet the centre's electricity needs.

The solar panels will also reduce the leisure centre's carbon emissions by as much as 47 tonnes each year, it is said.

Thetford & Brandon Times: Olympic swimmer Sharron Davies opened the centre in 2007Olympic swimmer Sharron Davies opened the centre in 2007 (Image: Ian Burt/ Newsquest)Breckland Council applied for the funding as part of its commitment to deliver projects centred around a greener, more sustainable future.

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They made a similar bid for Thetford's leisure centre but were unsuccessful.

Helen Crane Breckland Council's executive member for waste, environmental health, licensing and sustainability, said: “Our success in securing this national funding means we have a fantastic opportunity to invest in creating a sustainable future and enhancing our leisure provision, which we know is so important to local residents.”

Lisa Dodd-Mayne, Sports England executive director for place, said: “Swimming pools and leisure centres are vital community resources and are enormously important in helping people to be physically active.  

"Many pools have faced a real and significant threat to their survival this year, as local authorities and operators have battled the challenge of increased energy and wider costs, weakened reserves and difficulties with retaining staff.

"We hope today’s funding announcement will enable more public pools to improve their energy efficiency to be more environmentally and financially sustainable, so they remain available for future generations to enjoy.”

Tristan Ashby, the council's executive member for health and communities, added: “Leisure Centres are a vital part of our Breckland communities, the funding from Sports England will enable us to continue to provide excellent service in a more environmentally conscious way."