Councillors have voiced their disappointment after a 50% funding cut to a swimming scheme.
Caerphilly County Borough Council cabinet members voiced their frustrations as they discussed alternative options following a 50% cut in Welsh Government funding for the Free Swimming Initiative (FSI).
The sport and leisure services facilities manager Jeff Reynolds said local authorities were asked for feedback on the scheme.
Mr Reynolds said: “We are disappointed with the outcome and how this has been handed back to us as it is slightly different how most local authorities fed in.
“We are trying to make sense of this cut from the Welsh Government.”
The cuts will see a reduction in funding from £213,300 to £106,650.
A one off payment of £71,100 will also be given to the council to ease the transition.
The cuts mean the council has had to reduce the number of free swimming sessions, which will have an impact on the over 60s.
In Caerphilly there are currently 591 older adults accessing the FSI, which equates to 1.4% of the population. While this isn’t a large number, cabinet members emphasised that these were all loyal customers.
Mr Reynolds emphasised that it was important the over-60 population had access to the scheme.
However, the report presented to cabinet focused on swimming for children under 16 from areas of deprivation.
Of the funds available, 60%(£63,990) will be allocated to under 16s and 40% (£42,660) to people over 60.
Cabinet member for education and achievement, Cllr Philippa Marsden, said it was a poor move on the Welsh Government’s part.
She said: “The over 60s are just as important in addressing the loneliness aspect.
“We have less revenue across all budget lines across directorates and it’s putting us in a difficult position.”
In the meeting, cabinet members were asked to consider four options for the FSI scheme going forward.
The cabinet unanimously agreed to go for option four, which would include a membership of £15 per month for adults over 60.
It would allow for subsidised access Monday to Friday and free use at the weekends.
The membership could be paid via direct debit or cash instalments.