Nothing to do with writing for a change

Here’s something else I’m involved in – nothing to do with writing. If you aren’t interested, please skip this week’s blog – our usual monthly list of anniversaries will be back next week.

Our little town has been trying to build a swimming pool for many decades, but still doesn’t have one. The committee gave up all hope at the end of August and decided to close the campaign down. So I stepped in to keep it going. Since the entire committee resigned (there were only 3 of them left anyway), I immediately became chairman of the new group.

Fortunately plenty of people felt just as strongly as I did about it, and we now have a brand new committee of 12.

Previous committees have always pursued the sole aim of trying to get the local authority to fund, build and operate the pool. The local authority said it would cost millions to build, and the number of users wouldn’t be large enough to cover the operating costs, so they didn’t want to know.

Being an ideas man (and handy with search engines) I quickly found plenty of non-local-authority pools that were built (and continue to run successfully) by volunteers, operate as charities, and (unlike local authority pools) cover their operating costs despite being in areas with tiny populations.

We can keep building costs down by using volunteer labour and donated/surplus materials as much as possible. It doesn’t have to be in a multi-million pound sports complex – a greenhouse will do for now. And we can eliminate most of the operating costs by using volunteer staff, solar heating, non-chemical filters, and all sorts of other things.

So that’s what we’re doing. I’ve completely new to all this, only been doing it for about 3 weeks, and I’m having to learn everything as I go along. But we’re an enthusiastic and capable bunch and I’m sure we’ll get there this time.

Why am I doing this? Mostly because I want to walk to my local swimming pool, not make a 45-minute round trip car journey with a daughter who gets really badly car sick.

You can read more about our progress so far in this article from the Culm Valley Gazette. (Remind me to never allow myself to be photographed from above again.) And here’s our Facebook page.

If you have any ideas, innovations, or outside-the-box fundraising tips I’d love to hear from you – please post a comment on the  blog.

OK … back to writing! (Thanks for listening if you made it this far.)


2 thoughts on “Nothing to do with writing for a change

  1. Can’t offer any practical advice or support but did want to say Good for you! My Local Authority eventually replaced our condemned pool by going into partnership with one of the big players in the gym world. I don’t know the details but like you I was just glad to have a pool I could walk to (being prepared to walk an hour round trip for a half-hour swim!). Operating costs will be high, so consider membership fees which will guarantee you an income stream whether they use it or not… you can structure fees to match the community basis but a guaranteed income will be easier to borrow against should you ever need to.

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