November 2020

Details of the AGM have been sent out to all members for whom we hold a valid email address.  For more information see the AGM page.

October 2020

(The following item has been submitted for publication in the November edition of the Shere Parish Magazine.)

It is good to be able to report that the new swimming pool and arrangements for its use following re-opening under Covid restrictions at the beginning of August have been a great success.
95% of members responding to our recent survey indicated they rated the new pool highly. There has been a high demand to book lanes throughout the shortened season with over 80% of slots available booked, including 70% in the extension of normal opening, up until 11 October. Despite the necessary limits on the number of times people could swim, over 80% of members responding indicated that the new booking system had met their needs.
Members have behaved in an exemplary way, in adhering to the added restrictions and rules for swimming under Covid, to the benefit of all. Many members have indicated that they have really enjoyed swimming under the new lanes system which we had to introduce. We are now looking at ways of extending the swimming season more permanently for the future, including improving the water heating systems and planning for the changing room upgrade.
All this will be discussed further at the zoom-based AGM on 18 November at 8pm which anyone interested is very welcome to join. Log-in details will be provided in advance on our website.

Marion Taylor-Cotter  (on behalf of the Committee)

 

In early October, the following email was sent to all members for whom we hold a valid email address:

Dear Members

We are very pleased that we have been able to re-open for you this year and that you have been able to enjoy swimming in our newly refurbished pool, albeit with some restrictions.  After the extended opening this autumn, the pool will close after this Sunday, 11th October.
Thank you for adhering to the new rules so well and making use of the booking system.  As we reflect on the experience and start to make plans for next year we would much appreciate your feedback through completion of this short survey. It would be good if you could complete this in the coming week if at all possible, though we will be able to accept responses up until 20th October. 

We will be holding our AGM at 8pm on Wednesday 18 November by Zoom this year, somewhat later than usual, so as to have addressed all the Charity Commission reporting requirements. We will be examining the results of the survey, discussing the way forward for next year and the plans for re-building the changing rooms. Your contributions will be very welcome so please attend if you can. We will send out joining instructions to you nearer the time, together with a copy of the Annual Accounts and the Report for the year ending 30 September.     

Regards

David Roe, Chairman

September 2020

(The following item has been submitted for publication in the October edition of the Shere Parish Magazine.)

The shortened swimming pool season is being extended for the first time this year into October, with the pool scheduled to stay open until Sunday 11 October, depending on ongoing demand.
We will be reflecting on the successful re-opening this year, with 2,500 bookings in August for the restricted lane swimming, and are keen to obtain members' feedback on the experience through a survey. Whilst obviously wishing, if possible, to get back to unrestricted post Covid swimming next year, we will be considering the benefits of the booking system and lane swimming, to see whether any aspects of this years approach merit continuance next year.
We are planning to hold the AGM somewhat later this year on 18 November, though it looks like this might need to be on a Zoom basis, given the ongoing Covid restrictions on meetings. Either way, this will provide an opportunity for members to have their say on the way forward. We will at that stage be debating plans for next year, including Stage 2 proposals for re-development of the changing rooms and disabled access, remaining funding requirements and the approach to meeting the shortfall. More details will be provided asap. Many thanks to all those volunteers who have provided so much support to keeping the pool going so well this year. 
David Roe. Chairman

August 2020

(The following item has been submitted for publication in the September edition of the Shere Parish Magazine.)

Shere Swimming Pool finally opened again successfully on 1 August, as planned, though with quite a surprise for swimmers over the first weekend. Following the contractor carrying out rather excessive dye testing too close to opening, the pool was a bright purple colour for the first two days. Not a health hazard and some swimmers actually enjoyed the novelty, with requests for alternating colours for the following weeks! We are hoping that some unfortunate staining from the excessive dye can be removed in due course. 
Swimmers have been very appreciative of the chance to get back to their swimming, with many positive messages of thanks, to the committee and other volunteers, who have all worked so hard to get the re-opening organised. The hard work has all been worth it. Although of course we are all having to accept some limitations to the number of times we can swim, the lane swimming and booking system seem to be working well so far. There is more room for individual lane swimmers and families have still been able to enjoy swimming and playing together. It has been great for members to enjoy their open-air swimming in the good weather. Particular thanks must go to Steve Moggs for master-minding compliance with the covid health and safety provisions, Roger Troughton for designing and implementing the booking system from scratch at short notice, and Barry Arnfield for his detailed work in helping Clive Stevens to sort out the new water treatment systems.
David Roe. Chairman


July 2020

Re-opening the Pool 

This is the latest email that was sent to all members for whom we hold a valid email address.  
If you did not receive a copy, it is likely we have an incorrect email address for you.  Please let us know so that you do not miss any further emails, either by contacting the Membership Secretary (details on the Committee page) and/or by sending an email to sherepool[at]gmail.com

Dear Members

Following the Government’s recent announcement that swimming pools can reopen, we are pleased to advise that Shere Swimming Pool will be opening for swimming from Saturday 1st August.

In order that we can allow the pool to open we are having to put in place a significant number of additional rules on how the pool is to be used in order to ensure the safety of everyone who uses it. We have based these rules on those recommended by Swim England as to how swimming pools should operate during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Going forwards it will be necessary for members to book a timed slot for their swim using a new online booking system. We expect to open up the system a couple of days before the end of July when members will initially only be able to book one swim at a time.  This is to ensure that all members get a good chance to book a swim.  Once you have had your first swim you will then be able to book another slot.  Depending on popularity we hope to increase this to allow members to book up to two slots ahead, shortly. We will aim to open up bookings for a week ahead. We would like to encourage members to use all vacant slots, including at the last minute, but please note that you must always book online first.  

The link to the booking system will be https://sherepool.org.uk/book-a-swim/   It is a good idea to visit this soon to ensure that we have your card details registered correctly, as the booking process uses the numbers printed on your gate card as your identification.
If you do not have access to the Internet you will have to ask someone else to make a booking on your behalf.

The full list of additional rules and procedures for how the pool is to be used is outlined below:

 

1. Members must book a half hour time slot using the online booking system (3 lanes are available). Lane bookings are per household and only one lane can be booked per household at any one time. Guests are allowed only if they are from the same household or within the household’s “bubble”. The maximum number of people that can use a lane will be limited to six.

2. Persons experiencing Covid-19 symptoms or having to self-isolate must not enter the pool compound

3. Members and guests should come to the pool showered and changed ready to swim.

4. Anyone visiting the pool must sanitise their hands prior to opening the gate and entering the compound. An accessible sanitiser will be located by the gate for this purpose. Please do not allow children to touch the gate.

5. Members and guests should enter the pool compound not more than 10 minutes before their swimming slot starts. They should stay within the lower pool enclosure  area (as opposed to the raised area around the pool), ensuring they observe social distancing from others preparing to swim.

6. One person must sign in all attendees after entering the compound, sanitising their hands before using the pen.

7. Personal baggage should either be left in the lower pool area or in the bicycle shed

8. Supervising adults who are not swimming should be limited to one per household and must stay off of the raised area around the pool.

9. Members and guests about to swim should allow swimmers from the earlier slot booking to exit the water before entering the pool.

10. Members and guests must stay in the lane they have booked.

11. Swimmers should leave the water promptly as soon as their half hour slot finishes.

12. After exiting the water, members may shower before changing.

13. A limited number of changing rooms will be available for use after swimming (members must not store items in the changing rooms).

14. Members and guests using the toilet must sanitise it after use by themselves/ their children. A sanitiser will be available; (it would be helpful if members could also bring their own sanitisers in case any at the pool have temporarily run out)

15. The bench seating is not available for use.

16. No consumption of food and drink is allowed in the pool compound.

17. Once changed members and their guests should exit the pool compound.

18. Pool volunteers are to be allowed to enter the pool compound at any time but must observe social distancing rules

 

There is no denying that these rules will represent a very big change to what members will have been previously used to in using the pool. The booking system will inevitably mean that members will not be able to swim as frequently as they might like. This is regrettable but is the sacrifice we’ve had to make in order for the pool to be allowed to open.

It is only by everyone following these rules that the swimming pool can remain open. Although members of the committee will look to carry out spot checks, it will not be possible to have people on site all the time to oversee that the rules are being adhered to.  Members who deliberately flout the rules are liable to have their membership suspended with immediate effect.  We therefore do ask that everyone follows the rules and that courtesy is shown to all other users as well as to the committee members and other volunteers who help run the pool.  Please do not visit the pool unless you have booked a swim.  

Please also note that anyone wishing to request a refund should do so by contacting the Membership Secretary by the end of August, at the latest.  

Steve Moggs
SSPC Health & Safety Manager

 

Re-opening the Pool 

The following email was been sent to all members for whom we hold a valid email address.  
If you did not receive a copy, it is likely we have an incorrect email address for you.  Please let us know so that you do not miss any further emails, either by contacting the Membership Secretary (details on the Committee page) and/or by sending an email to sherepool[at]gmail.com

Dear Members
Most of you will have already heard the good news that outdoor swimming pools can re-open from Saturday 11 July, provided they have the right Covid procedures in place.  We are delighted with this news and look forward to welcoming you all back to our substantially improved, tiled pool, just as soon as we can.  To follow regulations/guidelines we need to ensure that we can all use the pool safely, so there will need to be some limitations on how we use it.  Given the extremely short notice since the announcement on Thursday 9 July and amount of detail in the guidelines to address which apply to our particular circumstances, this will take us time to organise (as is the case for many other pools). Realistically, we therefore believe that we need to allow until Saturday 1 August before we can re-open safely.
We first need to set up an online booking system and finalise how it can best work.  We will need to restrict the total numbers of swimmers using the pool at any one time, set up swimming lanes and limit the time any swimmers can remain in the pool.  We need to apply social distancing, minimise the use of changing rooms and toilets, as well as considering any supervision requirements and providing more rigorous cleaning routines.  In addition, following the only recently completed refurbishment, we will need to undertake thorough cleaning and preparation of the changing facilities for re-opening, put new signage in place, plus train all our pool rota team in how to operate the new plant room systems and our supervisory team in how to apply and monitor the new procedures.  Please remember that all this work has to be done by volunteer members in their spare time, unlike commercial pools with paid employees.  Full details will be provided to you in advance, and on the website, as soon as possible.
In view of the limitations on numbers who can use the pool, the Trustees have decided that membership be capped at the current numbers who have applied, which is not far short of full capacity.  Some of you may also be wondering about the membership fees you have paid and any entitlement to a refund, given the shorter swimming season remaining. As the normal swimming season will be reduced from 5 months to only 2 months, we are prepared to offer a full refund of 60%, representing the proportion lost. This would amount to £24 for individual members (who have paid £40 subscriptions) and £48 for families (who have paid £80). However, we would like you to please bear in mind several considerations, in deciding whether to take up this offer:

1) Paying these amounts in refunds will reduce the surplus we expect to make this year, which we had earmarked to contribute to the cost of the Stage 1 pool refurbishments, now successfully completed
2) Stage 1 has also necessarily cost a lot more than originally envisaged (around £200,000 in total), because the pool structure needed to be considerably strengthened, to take the tiling
3) This extensive refurbishment has been completed without increasing subscriptions for this year and we consider that member subscriptions are still very low, representing good value for money, even for a much-reduced swimming season
4) We still face a considerable shortfall in funding Stage 2 'Changing Room Replacement and Disabled Access' as a result of the much higher Stage 1 costs.  Whilst we have managed to raise more funds, including very welcome donations from members, we now need to raise approximately a further £35,000 to go ahead with Stage 2.  We believe that members will gain considerable further benefits if that can proceed, either in the autumn this year or, more likely now following next year's 2021 swimming season, given the need for further fundraising.

We are also looking into the practicality of keeping the pool open for some time during October this year, to partially reduce the extent to which the swimming season has been curtailed.  We know that children will be back at school by then, but at least a proportion of you might be interested in taking up this opportunity, given the heated pool and better water quality management systems now in place. However, we still need to look at the feasibility, given the possible need for supervised swimming, so will need to update you later on that.

We would therefore like you to think now whether you wish to request a refund or would be prepared to leave your full subscriptions with us this year, to assist us in managing our cash flow and to considerably help fully fund Stage 2.  Not having to pay refunds will make a substantial difference, reducing the funds we still need to raise by around £17,000. Further fundraising is likely to be an onerous task for the Trustees, especially in the current adverse economic climate, when many charities and other grant agencies are facing dire financial straits, with substantially increased demands, though much depleted sources of funding. If you still feel you wish to take the refund, you should contact David Pryor, our membership secretary.

In conclusion, I would like to thank all our team and contractors who have worked so hard in upgrading the pool for you.  Given the ongoing pandemic we ask for your patience in accepting the temporary restrictions on use of the pool, and your cooperation in making the new arrangements work safely.

Yours sincerely

David Roe.
Chairman

 

June 2020

Latest update on the Pool and Opening
(this will appear in the next issue of the Shere Parish Magazine)

At the time of writing, Swim England has just released their proposed guidance for swimming pools in addressing Covid-19 restrictions.  The Government has still to sign off on this and confirm from what date pools might re-open, which won't be before 4 July at the earliest*. We are now drawing up our Plan to re-open, based on the guidelines. We are confident we should be able to meet the requirements to enable us to re-open for members just as soon as we are permitted to, with certain limitations. 

Our new water treatment systems should be well capable of meeting the corona virus health and safety requirements. However, use of the pool will need to satisfy social distancing requirements.  We will probably need to introduce lane swimming, for at least part of the pool, restrict the numbers in the pool at any particular time and the duration of members' swimming at times when demand is high.  The Government is currently reviewing the 2-metre social distancing requirement.  Any reduction in this requirement would provide additional flexibility for us in setting up lanes and other areas in the pool, and in allowing more people to safely swim at the same time.  We are keeping our fingers crossed and look forward to welcoming all our members back to enjoy the refurbished pool as soon as possible.

* As of the end of June, the goverment has still not provided any date for the re-opening of swimming pools.

 

May 2020

Pool upgrade almost complete

Tiling of the new pool is now complete and it is looking magnificent, with white tiles throughout, but finished off with cobalt blue around the top and on the steps into the pool (see photos below).  Once the water is in, with chemicals added, the overall look will still be of a light blue pool, as we are used to, but much brighter and smarter. Equally, the plant room is also now complete, with six impressive new filters replacing the original two, more than doubling the water turnover rate and improving water quality considerably (see third photo below).

The contractors PPE Ltd. and UK Diveworks have done a fantastic job in difficult conditions during the lockdown, and are to be congratulated. Tidying up around the pool should also be finished shortly and the pool refilled with water by the end of May. Following thorough testing and training we will look forward to welcoming back our members to the pool as soon as possible, although we are still waiting for clarification from the government, as to when restrictions on the use of pools will be lifted.

More good news is that Shere Parish Council has agreed to provide an interest-free loan to the Swimming Pool Club, repayable, as necessary over the next four to five years. This should go a long way to bridging the funding gap, to enable the rebuilding of the changing rooms and provision of access for disabled swimmers to go ahead this Autumn. However, there is currently some funding shortfall remaining, so more donations from members and grants from other sources will still be sought, over the next few weeks. Plans will be made available on the website as soon as these are finalised.  

David Roe.  Chairman  

David and Clive at the newly tiled pool

David and Clive at the newly tiled pool

Filters in the refurbished plant room

 

April 2020

Latest update on pool upgrade and Coronavirus implications 

We have faced some minor delays in procuring materials, given the knock-on impact of the coronavirus crisis, but are still optimistic that all the work on the pool and systems can now be completed by late  May.

The pool will then be re-filled and so that all systems and the revised chemical treatment approach can be thoroughly tested. Distancing guidelines can be adhered to in continuing the work, but this revised timetable is still subject to continuing availability of key contractor staff, who have been doing a great job under the circumstances.

However, with lockdown restrictions and social distancing guidelines probably set to continue in force for some time, we do not know when it will be safe to re-open the pool. In the meantime, we are grateful to all those who have joined or renewed again.  Once more relaxed government guidance is issued, we will re-assess the specific risks relating to swimming at the pool and make appropriate decisions. Updates will be posted on our website and members will be informed as soon as possible.

In parallel, efforts continue to raise more money to fund the second stage of our overall project, to rebuild the changing rooms and provide better access and dedicated changing rooms for people with physical disabilities. We are very pleased to announce that we have been able to procure an additional £25,000 from Sport England, bringing their contribution up to £100,000 in total. Together with £10,000 from the National Lottery procured earlier in the year and member donations, this means that total funds raised including those expected to be available from the club itself, now amount to £242,000. Compared with the increased costs for the first stage of £202,000, this means that we should still have around £40,000 to contribute to stage 2 funding, leaving a shortfall of £45,000, relative to expected costs of £85,000. Looking ahead, we would also very much like to replace our gas boilers with more environmentally friendly heating to reduce the pool's carbon footprint, and this could cost a further £15-20,000.  So there is still a large gap to be bridged, but we are determined to keep going.

There are no obvious sources of further major grants, though which poses a challenge, particularly in the likely adverse financial climate expected post coronavirus.  We are therefore currently looking at how to address the challenge and would welcome any ideas members and others in the local community have for approaches to fundraising, as well as access to specific sources of funds. We would like further member donations to be part of this, but cannot expect this alone to be sufficient. Many thanks to all members who have pledged contributions so far. Those with ideas or who can help should contact me via email at chairman[at]sherepool.org.uk), or contact one of the other trustees. 

David Roe. Chairman 

View of the pool shortly before tiling is due to commence:

March 2020

Update on pool upgrade and Coronavirus implications 

Upgrade work at the Shere swimming pool continues in line with the revised schedule. Considerable extra work has now been completed to put the pool structure in a sound position to commence tiling, which should be undertaken by the second week in April.
The pool can then be refilled and all the new systems thoroughly tested. Following training we would then be in a position to re-open the pool on Sunday 3rd May, as planned, and in line with our usual practice.   

However, it now seems that re-opening then may not be possible because of the government coronavirus guidelines. We do not anticipate that the coronavirus will materially adversely affect the schedule for completing the work required. We are also accessing specialist advice in relation to the health and safety implications of the coronavirus for swimming at the pool. Nonetheless, given the current severe restrictions on social gatherings, getting everyone together for training in advance, and ensuring that social distancing restrictions can be adhered to during use, will probably be much more problematic. We will re-open as soon as government advice allows. We will re-consider the state of the pandemic again in April, and provide a further update for the May Parish Magazine, and on our website.  Lets keep our fingers crossed and thank you for your continuing support for Shere Pool.

David Roe.  Chairman    

February 2020

Update on pool upgrade 

Good further progress has been made recently, with inlets, skimmers and new filters installed and  concreting the base now almost complete. 

There has been fun and games along the way, with digging down under the pool to a depth below the water table from the Tillingbourne necessitating pumping out a lot of water, before the concreting could be done.  Pipes and valves have been fitted and a deeper pit dug to deal with all eventualities once the pool is operational again, so we hope there will be no further concerns about this in the future.

David Roe. Chairman

 

The pool just before concrete is poured to reinforce the base (photo courtesy of David Pryor): 

Pool20200207

January 2020

Further progress in upgrading the swimming pool 

Pool Progress January 2020

Work continues apace in improving the Shere swimming pool. Trenches have now been dug to take the new pipework and the plant room has been upgraded and strengthened to take the new filters, pumps and other systems. 

It has now also been possible to more thoroughly investigate the composition and assess the reliability of the walls and floor, which have been frequently partially patched up over many years. As a result it has been decided, after further stripping back old materials, to invest additional money to provide a more robust mix of sealants, stainless steel mesh and adhesives; this includes adding a modest layer of concrete in the shallow end. This is to help further ensure the sustainability of the new tiling to be introduced throughout the pool.

Sufficient funds are already available to cover the extra costs, but this increased expenditure will cut into the surplus left to contribute to the next stage of development, which will address the changing rooms and disabled access. The club is still therefore seeking many more donations from members, local businesses and other individuals, as well as further grants to meet the overall budgets, in full. Now that the club is registered as a charity, to claim gift aid, we will start to collect the money already pledged to support the renovations, for which many thanks. (A Gift Aid form is now available here.)

It is hoped that the comprehensive scaffolding and cover over the pool will enable work to continue uninterrupted, through rain and any ice and snow, over the next few months, so as to still be able to open the pool on schedule at the beginning of May. Inevitably there will continue to be some difficulty in keeping pathways and grass clear, given the enormous amounts of old materials and mud to be removed from the pool in wet weather; so we would ask for the forbearance of users of the path across the field. We will try to minimise the disruption and have undertaken to return the field and path to a good condition as soon as possible.  

David Roe. Chairman

 

Please also note that anyone wishing to request a refund should do so by contacting the Membership Secretary by the end of August, at the latest.  

Steve Moggs
SSPC Health & Safety Manager