An Alford mum has slammed the introduction of an ‘admin fee’ for children’s swimming lessons at Magna Vitae-run swimming pools across the East Lindsey district.
Sarah Vines criticised the fee of £15 per child, which she was asked to pay when setting up payment for her four children to have swimming lessons at Louth’s Meridian Leisure Centre.
The new one-off charge, introduced in April, was described as ‘exorbitant’ by Ms Vines - who has now been allowed to register her four children with one admin fee.
She claimed that she was originally told the fee was to cover the cost of processing debit card payments - which the Magna Vitae Trust has since said was ‘misleading’ on its part and has now ensured all staff are ‘clear when explaining it to customers’.
A Trust spokesman said: “Magna Vitae is a local charity and not-for-profit company that relies heavily on ELDC - and therefore local council tax payers - for funding to maintain reasonably priced access to activities such as swimming lessons, for the benefit of local people.
“It is necessary for us to minimise our reliance on ELDC for funding in the longer term and reviewing our fee structures in this way is a necessary part of that process.
“The £15 is a new one-off fee that is payable every time someone joins or re-joins the swimming lesson programme.
“It is an administration fee which covers the admin and preparation time and set up costs that are associated with new swimmers joining the swimming lesson scheme.
“Calling it simply a direct debit set up fee is misleading, and we’ve ensured our staff are clear when explaining it to customers.”
“The £18.75 monthly lesson fee is very good value for money and we are keen to maintain that as far as we can, hence we have opted to introduce the one-off admin fee to cover new starter set up costs.”