A charity hopes to take its community swimming pool “to the next level.”
The Calday Grange Swimming Pool Trust has submitted plans to improve the facilities at the swimming pool on Gourleys Lane in Newton in Wirral within the grounds of the Calday Grange Grammar School.
This includes a new single-storey training room, reception area, accessible facilities, and expanding the changing rooms and creating “a facility fit for public use.”
The pool has been open for more than 100 years, first opening as an open-air swimming pool in 1921. In 1965, a new indoor pool was created and in the 1970s it was taken over by Wirral Council.
However, they handed the lease over to the trust in 1996 after the swimming pool faced possible closure. Since then the trust has managed the pool extending opening hours to 96 hours a week.
A number of local schools and volunteer groups now use the facilities including people travelling from Wales.
Gary Lewis, the pool manager, said, “It’s been here for a long time and it needs to be modernised. We want to bring it up to being a facility fit for public use rather than putting up with what we have got.
“We want to take it to the next level. We are always having to hire rooms from the school for classes and we do not have a staff room. We want to replace the current garage with a staff room stroke classroom. because at the moment we can’t even do lifeguarding training properly.
“Any money we do get, it goes straight back into the building to improve it. The changing room, they were built years ago and we like to extend it out. We are fully booked and at maximum capacity at half five in the morning. All the primary schools and high schools all come to use it.”
Improving accessibility is also a big part of the plans with Mr Lewis adding: “We want to create a purpose built disabled access facility with a shower, changing room, and toilet and get a disabled hoist in the pool.”
The planning application was submitted to Wirral Council in March 2023 and is estimated to cost around £200,000. This is as Mr Lewis said costs for utilities have tripled and the price of chlorine used to keep pools clean has doubled.
To cover the costs, they are looking at raising funds through a GoFundMe as well as applying for some Sports England or lottery funding.
Mr Lewis said approval would be “massive,” adding: “So many pools are closing across the country but this will just save it. There will be no pools left the way we are going. We are doing this to make sure that future generations can enjoy the pool and it will be here for future use.
“Swimming is a massive life skill, it’s a skill any child should have growing up.”
A link to the GoFundMe can be found here
Images credit: Calday Grange Swimming Pool Trust