The following is being sent to all members:
Shere Swimming Pool Club is run by the community for the community, on behalf of Shere Parish Council. Whilst the basic pool structure has now been confirmed as sound, much of the supporting infrastructure, such as the water treatment plant, is in urgent need of upgrading, as it is not fully effective and does not meet latest health and safety standards. Although additional checks are currently being performed to ensure that the water is always safe to swim in, this is inefficient and onerous for the volunteer members who run the pool, so not sustainable.
The revised upgrade plan now produced includes replacement of pipework, filters and pumps, as well as additional skimmers, to speed up the water flow considerably and facilitate chemical chlorine dosing. In addition, the plant room will be extended or replaced, there will be improved access and rebuilding of the changing rooms. A budget of £252,000 has been prepared, of which £60,000 is already available from the club’s own resources and £20,000 has been offered by Shere Parish Council. This leaves an ambitious £172,000 to be raised through grants and donations, in time to commence the upgrade in October, so that the pool can be upgraded by the start of the 2020 swimming season. Additional fundraising is now in progress and there is no time to lose.
Building on advice received from the Parish Council solicitors, it is now also proposed that the club convert to become a Charitable Incorporated Organization (CIO) in support of these initiatives. This will convey benefits for membership and operating for the benefit of the whole local community, fundraising, and management, including limited liability. In particular, it should be easier to raise funding through grants and there should be a significant financial benefit from being able to obtain gift aid on donations. The pool management committee wishes to explain the proposals to members and to obtain their support for the changes.
In order to better meet the criteria to obtain grants from sporting bodies, as well as to become a CIO, it is also necessary for the club to commit to an expanded Vision of its role in the local community, the core elements of which have been formulated, for discussion. A key theme is enabling greater participation in swimming at the pool from within the local community, including from the local schools, those needing to swim to become fitter and through providing access to and special changing facilities for those with disabilities.
Group swimming involving the schools and other interested local organisations would need to be scheduled in off-peak periods, to minimize the impact on existing individual and family members. At one stage it was thought that it might be necessary to reduce the maximum depth of the pool from 1.5 to 1.2 metres, to satisfy the schools’ insurance requirements and enable them to use it. Members have expressed concerns about reducing the depth but, following advice, this action no longer seems to be necessary.
It is now planned that a minimal amount of concrete will be added to the deep end of the pool, but this will simply be to enable the depth in the shallow end to be increased back to what it has been previously, whilst ensuring that the maximum depth at the deep end does not exceed 1.5 metres.
The management committee would also like to further explain the plans and obtain support for the expanded Vision from members. It has therefore been decided to convene a members’ Extraordinary General Meeting to debate and gain approval for all these new proposals. This has been scheduled for Wednesday 12 June at 8 pm, to be held at Tanyard Hall in Gomshall.
Obtaining sufficient additional funding from grant funding agencies alone to meet the full budget requirements cannot by any means be guaranteed, in the current adverse charity funding climate, with diminishing funds available and the strict funding criteria which such agencies apply. A broader fundraising programme will therefore be initiated, to raise additional funds from local businesses and individuals, including members.
It is therefore proposed that the launch of a programme to elicit wider financial support will be combined with the consultation on the vision and charity conversion. The meeting will therefore be open for anyone else interested in potentially contributing to funding to attend, as well as any other interested non-members.
Members of the club obtain substantial physical and mental well-being benefits through swimming in this unique, outdoor heated community swimming facility. If the pool has to close for health and safety reasons then these benefits and a great community asset will be lost. The need to procure the additional funding required is therefore urgent and financial support from whatever sources can be identified will be very welcome.
To discuss further in advance of the meeting please contact David Roe, Chairman, Shere Swimming Pool Club: chairman[at]sherepool.org.uk m. 07860 163796
The following update was published in the March edition of Shere Parish Magazine:
We are aiming to reopen the pool on May 5th but if there is any change to this plan a message will be posted here on the website and at the swimming pool. The season will run from May 5th until the end of September. Following detailed analysis of the requirements to upgrade the pool plant room systems, it has been decided not to undertake any preliminary work before the reopening date. It may not now be necessary to reduce the water depth and we will need to undertake substantial fundraising before the budget for the whole project can be fully met. We now hope to start the upgrade work in October, members will be informed and consulted on developments over the coming months.
The following update on progress will also be found in the next edition of the Shere Parish Magazine:
The proposed approach to upgrading the plant room systems and pipework was confirmed by the Swimming Pool Club Committee on 9 January, and the same evening discussed at the Shere Parish Council Meeting.
This approach foresees levelling the pool to a depth of 1.2 metres maximum, alongside revising all the pipework, and introducing more skimmers, all being undertaken as an integrated Phase 1, hopefully before re-opening the pool in May. Prior to this a structural engineer will check that the pool structure can bear the weight of the concrete to be introduced to level the base, as well as help further confirm that the structure of the pool itself can be relied on for the future. Extension of the plant room and introduction of the new filters and pumps would then proceed in October, as Phase 2, following the end of the 2019 swimming season. An evaluation of tender responses from prospective suppliers has been undertaken, a preferred supplier proposed and overall costs negotiated for the two phases.
A further meeting has now been organised with the Parish Council, to discuss the overall approach and proposals in more detail, in light of the new situation, and how this can best be funded.
It is hoped that there should be sufficient funding available to proceed with Phase One. However, there will be a need to raise up to an additional £70,000 approximately to pay for Phase 2, before this can commence. Given the difficulties and long timeframes associated with relying solely on applications for sporting grants, it is therefore proposed that a broader fundraising exercise be mounted soon, which will include seeking contributions from local individual benefactors and charities. If anyone knows of organisations or individuals who might be willing to help fund the initiative, we would be very pleased to hear from them.
David Roe. Chairman