Directors of a not-for-profit social enterprise say they have been left sickened after claims the community pool they operate had used a town council as nothing more than a meal ticket.

At their annual budget meeting, Connah’s Quay councillors discussed whether they should continue paying a £15,000 annual subsidy to Cambrian Aquatics which opened its doors as a social enterprise at the town’s swimming pool from the end of May 2016.

Councillors concluded they could no longer support the pool and withdrew the funding although they did set aside £5,000 should Cambrian Aquatics put in a request for help.

In reaching their decision Cllr Andrew Dunbobbin said Cambrian Aquatics needed to show a bit of respect to the town council while Cllr Ian Dunbar stated they (Cambrian Aquatics) had done nothing for Connah’s Quay and had ignored the town council since receiving the subsidy.

But Mike Lewis, a director of Cambrian Aquatics, has hit back at the ‘incredibly misinformed’ comments made by councillors at their budget meeting.

He said: “It’s beyond belief councillors can suggest we do nothing for Connah’s Quay. I’d ask how many councillors have actually come to the pool to see what we do?

“As well as employing 37 local people we have 1,140 children in our Learn to Swim program, which is an increase of 500 from June 2016, that’s 4,560 sessions a month.

“We have a thriving Connah’s Quay Swimming Club with 74 regular members training at the pool and competing around the region and 25 members in the Nofio Clwyd performance centre who train at the pool including local Welsh and British National swimmers.

“We had a Connah’s Quay Swimming Club member represent Wales at the Junior Commonwealth Games two years ago and we have prospective Commonwealth and Olympic Games swimmers too.

“You can bet should one of our swimmers achieve Olympic success councillors will be queuing up for a photo opportunity.”

He added: “We also provide a disabled swimming club which is free to members and their carers and 680 pensioner swims a month even though funding has been halved by the Welsh Assembly Government.

“Fifteen schools attend the pool every week, up from 10 when we started, we have a sub aqua and triathlon club, we run holiday clubs in the Civic Hall, education visits to schools, run First Aid courses for local businesses and the general public, support the Duke of Edinburgh Awards Scheme and much, much more including our public swim program.

“To suggest we do nothing for Connah’s Quay is just such a ridiculous statement and if only councillors would come along and see the pool full of young swimmers training every evening. Aside of the obvious health benefits, where would these youngsters be otherwise?”

Mike Lewis says he does agree with town councillors that there is a failure of other town and community councils to contribute to the running of Cambrian Aquatics.

He said: “We learnt in early 2015 that there was a real risk of the pool having to close as it was losing up to £300,000 a year.

“Four parents of swimmers volunteered to establish a working party to explore the viability of taking control of the pool via Community Asset Transfer from the county council.

“That working party was expanded to include the county council, Connah’s Quay Town Council and an advisor from Business Wales.

“The county council agreed an annual subsidy over a three to five year period with both councils receiving annual business updates. Connah’s Quay Town Council agreed a smaller subsidy over the same period.

“Cambrian Aquatics Sports Centre was then established as a not-for-profit limited company operating as a social enterprise with the four volunteer parents becoming sole directors and with all profits being ploughed back into the company.

“As of this year Cambrian Aquatics is making a small profit but as with other social enterprises cash flow remains a challenge.”

He added: “What is disappointing is that at no point has Connah’s Quay Town Council expressed or even hinted at any concerns over the viability of Cambrian Aquatics as a business or community asset.

“Our meetings with councillors have always been positive and reassuring. And we would agree other local town and community councillors should be making a contribution to help us operate.

“But to suggest we are treating Connah’s Quay Town Council as a meal ticket and that we haven’t shown the council any respect and done nothing for Connah’s Quay really is sickening.”