Victoria Park Buckfastleigh has been awarded a grant of £20,000 by Buckfastleigh Town Council to enable it to keep the pool open in 2017.
The pool provides affordable swimming for the community, and since April 2015 has been run by a community group of volunteers which took over the running of the pool from Teignbridge District Council when it said it could no longer afford to keep the pool open.
The pool saw its highest number of users in 2016, with over 8,500 individual swims and lots of new events and income-generating activities such as cold water swimming, Ice Galas, a heated Boxing Day swim and evening events.
However, earlier in the winter, the trustees of the pool had to inform the town council that the pool could not cover its running costs through ticket prices alone, and sought a grant from the council towards its running costs. The grant of £20,000 from Buckfastleigh Town Council gives the pool trustees breathing
space to build its marketing and income generating activities.
Jill Hulatt, Trustee of Victoria Park and Buckfastleigh Open Air Pool said, “We are incredibly grateful to the town for their support of our pool. This grant is a lifesaver and benefits so many parts of our community, both young and old. Our school children have access to convenient and affordable school swimming sessions and a safe and healthy place for to visit during the summer holidays; the health and wellbeing benefits to adults cannot be underestimated. The pool also provides good-quality employment for local
people and excellent volunteering opportunities as well as bringing more people into the town who spend money in our shops, cafes and pubs.”
Since taking over the management of the park and pool, the trustees have raised over £340,000 to fix and improve the pool, build a new skate park and a new play area in the park. However these grants, whilst incredibly useful, only fund building and refurbishment projects, not the ongoing costs of running the pool, which include staff costs and water and electricity bills.
Ms Hulatt continued, “We anticipate that our marketing and income generation plans will enable us to reduce our reliance on grants in the future, but this is an incredibly useful buffer until we are fully established. It is essential that we, as a community, find ways to preserve and enhance the few remaining facilities we have access to within our town and we would like to thank Buckfastleigh Town Council for this grant.”