Learn all about our filter system with Ted.
Those of you following this blog or our Facebook or Twitter feeds will be aware that we came up with some ideas to develop the pool, in order to keep it open and build a repair fund. Over the Spring and Summer we conducted three face to face public meetings (one attached to a Brixham Town Council meeting); an on-line survey; a youth evening and random poolside surveys while it was lifeguarded.
The Shoalstone CIC will consider these figures and respond to a host of other comments and ideas, but in the meantime we’re sharing the numbers.
We had around 100 visits to our face to face events and 55 people completed the on-line survey. In total 134 people filled in a feedback form.
The types of people responding broke down like this (all % are rounded) –
Men 45%, Women 55%
Under 18 20%; 18-24 7%; 25-34 7%; 35-44 10%; 45-54 14%; 55-64 24%; 65+ 18%
Have a disability? 12%
TQ postcode 84%; Visitor 16%
Responses to questions
Strongly Agree and Agree; and Strongly Disagree and Disagree are combined. I’ve omitted the neutrals, but know that you can work that out!
Day or weekly Beach Hut hire – Agree 72% Disagree 5%
Overnight Beach Huts – Agree 54% Disagree 29%
Extend restaurant – Agree 65% Disagree 14%
Create a small kiosk – Agree 59% Disagree 24%
Kayak/SUP etc hire space – Agree 79% Disagree 8%
Outdoor cinema (occasional) – Agree 69% Disagree 19%
Use overflow car park – Agree 84% Disagree 0%
Poolside hot tubs/Sauna – Agree 71% Disagree 16%
Natural Playground – Agree 76% Disagree 15%
Changing rooms – Agree 87% Disagree 6%
Accessibility improvements – Agree 76% Disagree 3%
Youth provision – Agree 81% Disagree 3%
A word of caution
Before the nay-sayers or the yay-sayers get too excited by these results, remember that Shoalstone CIC was testing ideas. And it has yet to come back on a range of commentary…and they have to get funding to develop the ideas to something workable…and then get the money to do the work. And at the same time keep you informed and consulted as they go along. But as the person doing the analysis (I am a volunteer), it struck me that, generally, people are keen to see the pool generate more income, but not at the expense of what they see as the aesthetic of the place. And this is a very personal thing.
Let’s take green space. Several commentators said they loved the ‘natural’ green space. Those of you with longer memories than I, will remember when the green space had a putting green on it. And those of you with an ecological bent will no doubt say that there is very little natural about a lawn. And the one person who said, “children don’t use the playgrounds and activities we already have in Brixham” is, I believe, deeply misinformed.
The visuals were developed by Kay Elliot, who were paid for some initial work and then donated their labour for free. And the consultation events, on-line survey and processing of results were done, for free, by the Board of Shaolstone Pool CIC and several of its many volunteers.
More to follow in the next few months
If you wander down Bolton Street you’ll come across the wonderful – it is full of wonders – Hammer and Nails. Run and owned by Andrew and Angela for nearly 30 years, they are one of our pool sponsors. Without them, and many others, the pool would close…as we are dependent on your generosity.
They both highlight how the pool is used by families and children (it’s the only lifeguarded bit of the Bay) and contributes to the character of Brixham – it’s friendliness, it’s time to pause and talk, it’s uniqueness.
Although Andrew says he’s never swum in it, but he has dined at Shoals Cafe on the Lido, he makes the point that “once it’s gone, it’s gone”. At Hammer and Nails they give a little bit every year to a range of local causes – this week they’re supporting the RNLI Lifeboat Week – so every piece of hardwear, kitchenware or timber you buy goes, in a small way, to helping our pool, other local assets and keeping a vital local shop going.
Thank you Andrew, Angela, the staff at Hammer and Nails (01803 852050) and Teddy for helping us and Brixham to be the lovely place it is.
We’re in this. And one of the co-authors helps run Portishead Lido. We’re helping – can you?
As some of you know we’re thinking about how to keep the pool open, better and repaired into the future. To do this we need to raise income from improvements to the site. Change is always contentious for some and exciting for others. We already have responses to our ideas from neighbours, staff, volunteers, visitors and other towns people. But we want more!
This Sunday (9th July) at midday, will see another race in our efforts to use the pool in a variety of ways. This is an Open to All race of 60m. Prizes for 1st, 2nd and 3rd and a wristband for all entrants.
To help us we ask for a £2 donation as a race fee. Given the highly random nature of those who turn up for races, you’ll always stand a chance of winning.
On July 23rd we’ll have a July Sprints Cup (50m) for the under18s, to celebrate the start of the summer holidays.
And on August 12th we have a Summer Holidays Cup (25m), as part of our Fun Day, for the under 12s.
The final cup of the summer season is the September Medley (4 strokes – 25m each) on Sunday 3rd September.
10am this Sunday 4th June. The first of our monthly Sunday races. There’s a cup to be won and other prizes. And in time honoured cold water swimming style; cake afterwards. All welcome. £3 race fee.
**UPDATE: this meeting will now be held in the Scala Hall**
We will be presenting our ideas again for possible development work at the pool at the Brixham Town Council Annual Parish Meeting.
7pm, Thursday 25th May, Function Room, Brixham Town Hall.
If you were unable to make the meeting on 9th May then please come along. And please spread the word – especially to people who might not have regular internet access.
After a small meeting to kick off our consultation to develop Shoalstone Pool; where we shared some initial ideas; I noticed this while walking along the road the other day –
So I decided to knock on the door and ask what their concerns were. In short, the resident did not want any development because they believed any work would be disruptive and would spoil their view of the bay. That’s very clear; and good to know. But…
It seems our message that these were ideas, not plans, had not been communicated clearly enough; as the author of the above sign states that we have “… fully formulated plans…”. Let’s be clear, these are ideas. And if none of them gain any confidence from the whole community of Brixham, and don’t meet various conditions set out in the covenants on the land, then they won’t happen.
Let’s think about why we have shared these ideas. Brixham Town Council took the lease of the pool after Torbay District Council threatened to close the pool a few years ago. The pool is run on a shoestring budget and relies on the efforts of over 50 people doing voluntary work. This work includes management (6 voluntary, unpaid directors), maintenance and cleaning (a part time caretaker and tens of voluntary helpers). And we have ten lifeguards paid just above minimum wage for the summer. The Friends of Shoalstone Pool raise money through events; Shoalstone Pool raises some money through events; some income comes from car parking fees, beach hut and deck chair hire; and Brixham Town Council make a small contribution. It’s worth remembering that a Band D property in Brixham pays £43 out of £1677 of its Council Tax to Brixham Town Council or 83p a week. Of this 83p/week, around 4p/week goes to Shoalstone Pool from each Council Tax payer in Brixham.
Two years ago Shoalstone Pool got £50,000 from the national Coastal Communities Fund to do some repairs to the pool. This was on top of almost £40,000 spent in the previous year on repairs. This £90,000 spent has repaired the pool lining, but not fixed it. Fixing it and making it future proof will cost several times more than this. Just to run the pool (with free labour covering management, maintenance and cleaning; ten summer lifeguards and a part-time caretaker; materials, paint, safety equipment, maintenance equipment etc) is around £50,000/year. So more money has to come from somewhere.
One of our principles is that the pool should remain free-to-use for local families, swimmers and visitors. We ask for donations, but like any public pool, these don’t cover the cost of running the pool. So we need to find more ways to raise money. If we don’t the pool will inevitably close…either because people tire of putting their hands in their pockets, or tire of volunteering.
The choice is simple. We either come up with ideas that maximise income and make Shoalstone Pool an even better place to be than it is already, while minimising disruption during and after construction…or we’ll see it’s gradual decline.
So, this summer we will be talking to many, many people to see what they think about our ideas, and what their ideas are. If there are more who support us going ahead we will; if not we won’t. And that’s before we’ve even applied for planning or raised the money to do any work. There’s a long way to go. Help us, rather than hinder us, please.