Newsletter 1 – 2020

Welcome

Hi! Thank you for taking the time to read our newsletter. This forms an ongoing commitment from the pool committee to keep you up to date with our strategy, plans and events lined to the Shoalstone Seawater Pool. We will be publishing the newsletter quarterly and welcome any contributions you may have or ideas for its improvement.


Shoalstone Pool Strategy

In November last year we published a draft strategy for the pool. If you haven’t yet seen it you can find a copy here. Following publication we’ve taken the strategy to consultation including presentations to the pool AGM, local Council, Chamber of Commerce, Brixham College and their Student Council meeting, YES and the Peninsula Community Partnership. We also ran an online survey to which many of you contributed.

We’re pleased to say that the feedback was amazing. There’s huge support for  the direction we are taking and many constructive comments and ideas. We are indebted to those who contributed and are in the process of revising the strategy and building a set of plans to deliver it. 

As a result of the feedback we can announce that we are fully committed to the dissolution of the Community Interest Company and the formation of a new organisation by which we can gain charitable status. This is critical to our plans for fundraising. Linked to this is our will to continue providing access to the pool for free with a donation advised.

We took on board many comments concerning charging but the majority of feedback indicated that the pool should remain open to any and all with no restrictions.  A significant number of you expressed concern about the phrase “membership scheme” and we understand that it has sown some confusion. We’re going to have a long look at our wording as the intention was to recruit patrons to our cause rather than charge for the pool via a membership levy.

The name of the pool was raised by some and we were asked to consider a rebrand as a “lido”. However, we feel that the pool is known locally and nationally as a pool. We want to keep the phrase “seawater” in the name as this clearly distinguishes us from swimming pools and thus are pushing ahead as “Shoalstone Seawater Pool”.

Finally we’ve poured over all of your ideas as to how we can improve the pool’s infrastructure, raise the pools profile and raise more funds. Thank you so much for these, there is a lot to think about and a lot to do. As a result we’re reorganising the way we work as a team to allow us to manage these effectively. We recognise that we have gaps in our team that must be filled in order for our vision to be achieved. We are actively looking for those people including new volunteers to help with all aspects of pool development and management.

If you think you are one of them please get in touch.


Committee Matters 2020

The pool committee meet monthly and even though the pool is closed we have a lot on our plate. We commissioned an expert to carry out a Health and Safety audit of our operations and are busy putting corrective measures in place.

We are looking at the signage around the pool site, and also on the way in to Brixham to make sure folks know where we are.  You would be surprised how many visitors and Torbay residents alike don’t know the pool exists. This was highlighted in a survey we carried out at the pool last summer.

And on a related issue, we have been considering how we can improve the disabled access around the site.  As a first step, with improved signage, hand rails and some widened paths we hope we can make visits for those with disabilities a lot easier. We hope to make significant improvements this year and are also making accessibility a cornerstone of our development plans moving forward.

Dave Barter has recently joined the committee and will be helping us enhance our website and drive forward our strategy.


Pool Infrastructure and Cleaning

Throughout winter we still need to empty and clean the pool in order to prevent a build up of silt and debris. Recent storms have interrupted our schedule with our last full clean happening on the 27th December. Ten of our hardy volunteers helped us scrape the base clean and powerwash the walls and decking. A solitary crab was returned to the sea. 

You may have noticed that a set of railings were damaged in a recent storm and we will be repairing these prior to opening. We also suffered vandalism from a graffiti artist, damage to changing rooms and the sea itself which has thrown up a large volume of stones onto the decking (now cleared).

As always we are hugely grateful to our volunteers who help us inspect, clean and maintain the pool. It may not seem like it but we are as busy when the pool is closed as we are during high season.

Dates for Your Diary

2020 brings two exciting fundraising events for the pool. On March 3rd Rockfish Restaurant held a charity dinner in aid of the pool. Tickets proved hugely popular and sold out within a week. Thank you Brixham we appreciate it! A charity raffle and auction raised an AMAZING £2000 on the night. Thank you so much to all who attended and dug deep into their wallets. And thanks also to those who provided the prizes

Saturday the 11th April sees another dog swim at the pool starting from 11:30am. These have proved very popular and are great fundraisers. Come along and see the spectacle even if you haven’t got a dog. 

On Friday April 17th The Friends of Shoalstone Pool are putting on a concert in aid of the pool with local musicians entertaining us for the evening. The event will be held at the Scala Hall starting at 7:30pm. We’re very excited to announce that the local MusicAtTheEdge group from YES will be launching the evening with a song written especially for the pool. Please tell your friends and family, tickets will shortly be available from The Friends. 

The pool opening date has been set for the 23rd May at 3pm. We will be running stalls and have a live band playing. Watch this space for details of who will be opening the pool. We’re just waiting to hear back from them… 


Other News

If you’ve been down to Breakwater Beach recently you may have seen two bearded gentlemen swimming away in the freezing seas. These two fellows are Chris and Bear  also known as the 365 Sea Swimmers. They are taking a dip in the sea every day, whatever the weather, for a year in aid of the pool and the Seal project. You can show your support here https://www.gofundme.com/f/365swim


The Friends of Shoalstone Pool

The Friends of Shoalstone Pool http://www.friendsofshoalstonepool.co.uk/ continue to support us with their drive to raise funds to sustain and develop the pool. We all owe them a huge debt for their tireless efforts and the events they run throughout the year. The Friends fund many of our initiatives and actively support and promote the benefits of using the pool. Thank You!

Please consider supporting the Friends by becoming a member. It’s a small donation and every little helps. More details at http://www.friendsofshoalstonepool.co.uk/square-metre/4588968275


Can you Help?

In order to drive forward our plans to safeguard and improve the pool we are looking for someone who has deep civil engineering or site operations experience from a strategic point of view. Are you the sort of person who could help us build a tactical and strategic plan for the pool and then help us deliver it? Maybe you know someone who has retired and would be willing to give us some time. Maybe you know a relevant business who are looking to do some good in the community?


Contact us

We’re always keen to hear from you on any matter concerning the pool be it fundraising ideas, offers for help or anything that we may not have thought of. Please feel free to get in touch via our email address info@shoalstonepool.com or phone Dave on 07799 414702.

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Sharron Davies, Olympic Medallist, to open Shoalstone Pool

Sharron Davies, Olympic Medallist, to open Shoalstone Pool
in Brixham at 12pm on May 25, 2019

Shoalstone Pool – Brixham’s iconic seawater lido – will open for the 2019 season at the late May Bank Holiday, as part of the town’s Brixfest celebrations.

I am delighted to be launching the 2019 season at Shoalstone Pool. I know it holds a special place in Brixham’s history as a beautiful 1920s seawater lido, but Shoalstone is also, first and foremost, a family pool. There are so many parents in Brixham today who remember coming to the pool after school and in the holidays, and now their children are doing the same.”

I started swimming when I was about 6, and was first selected to swim for England when I was 11. Without my local pool in Plymouth and the constant support of my parents my Olympic career would never have got off the ground. So well done Brixham for keeping the Devon swimming tradition going, let’s keep encouraging the youngsters, the next Olympic medallist could be swimming in Shoalstone right now.

Sharron Davies, MBE

Once again Shoalstone is only opening due to the hard work of the local volunteers who have repaired, repainted and cleaned the pool to help it recover from the ravages of a hard winter. Every year the pool is attacked by wind and waves through the winter months and every year it is open to everyone throughout the summer. Last summer was long and hot with record numbers flocking to the lido – we are hoping for great weather again this summer.

Vandalism

We would be grateful if you could pass the following message around children and parents in relation to issues we are currently experiencing at Shoalstone Pool. This follows on from the difficulties we had last season from a small minority of pool users.

We’re very sad to report we’ve had to call the police this week following vandalism and damage to beach huts by children and verbal abuse to our volunteers when asked to stop.  Our tenants at Shoals Café are also struggling with kids messing around on the roofs of the café and associated shelters, generally making themselves a nuisance, and the verbal abuse their staff members receive when they ask them to move on. Once again, it is a small minority who are making life very difficult.

This kind of behaviour is frustrating to all who help and work down the pool, the volunteers, the fundraisers and the residents of Brixham who always come out in force to help us keep the pool open. This has been particularly the case this year after the damage by Storm Emma, when we have been overwhelmed by the incredible support we have received as the whole community has rallied around to keep our pool open.

The amount of rubbish, including glass, that is being left is also a problem, and our volunteers and Shoals Café staff are spending considerable time each day cleaning up the poolside and green.  Please put litter in the bins provided or take it home with you.

As the season looks to get underway once again, we ask that users please RESPECT the pool and surrounds, and all who work on-site, on poolside and within Shoals Cafe. If we have to continue to pay out for repairs due to acts of petty vandalism and suffer this verbal abuse it puts the future of the pool at risk.

We’re very proud of our lovely pool and would hate to see it close. As we all wish for a lovely hot summer, it is there for the enjoyment of all.

Thank you for your support.

Storm damage

We have been seeing some pretty crazy weather round these parts lately, and unfortunately the pool has not emerged unscathed from the storms that have been battering the Devon coastline.

The combined forces of Storm Emma, the Beast from the East and very high spring tides unleashed havoc on the night of March 1st 2018, causing a considerable amount of damage to the pool and its surrounds.

As well as destroying the snack kiosk (which is still under the control of Torbay Council) the waves ripped away railings, tore up slabs of concrete and destroyed doors to our storerooms. Much of our kit was washed out to sea and strewn across the bay – and further afield.

Our caretaker has been working hard to make the site safe and calculate the cost of the substantial repairs that are going to be needed if we are going to be able to open on time for the 2018 season. We are exploring a range of different sources of funding for this, including insurance and government winter storm coffers, but in the absence of any immediate answers from these avenues we have decided to set up a crowdfunding campaign so that we can get started on repairing the damage caused as quickly as possible.

You can find out more about our Just Giving campaign here, and we hope that you will feel able to donate and/or share the link to help us reach a wider audience.

Thank you for your ongoing support – we are determined that we will be open this summer as planned, it’s just going to take a little more effort than usual this time round…

Drone use at Shoalstone Pool

We know that Shoalstone Pool is a spectacular location and is very attractive to operators of drones. However the laws on drone use are very clear:

  • Drones must NOT be flown within 150m of congested areas with lots of members of the public
  • Drones must NOT be flown within 50m of properties or persons whose permission you do not have – this also includes vehicles, public highways and any seagoing vessels

If you wish to use your drone anywhere on the Shoalstone Pool site, you will need to email info@shoalstonepool.com to obtain written permission. We are very happy to hear from professional drone operators who have the appropriate licenses in place.

If you attempt to use a drone without obtaining this permission, you will be asked to stop flying it immediately and will be reported to the police if you do not comply. If you fail to adhere to these rules set by the Civil Aviation Authority you could be prosecuted and fined up to £5000.

Unfortunately this summer we have had a number of incidents where our staff and volunteers have been subject to abuse from members of the public when asking them to comply with drone legislation. This is completely unacceptable and we are working with the local police to avoid incidents like this in the future.

We take our responsibilities for the safety of our staff, pool users and members of the public on the Shoalstone Pool site very seriously, and hope you understand that these rules are in place to protect everybody and keep Shoalstone Pool a safe and pleasant place to be.

Supervision of children at Shoalstone Pool

With the summer holidays now upon us, all we need now is some sunshine so that local and visiting families alike can make the most of our beautiful pool!

After the extremely busy period we had with last month’s heatwave, though, we do need to issue a reminder about the importance of parents and guardians supervising their children at the pool.

It is extremely important that children under eight years old are accompanied in the water by a responsible adult. Our lifeguards are on duty to ensure the safety of all pool users, but young children understandably require an increased amount of supervision and this is not something that they can provide without your assistance.

There have been a number of cases this year where very young children – non-swimmers – have been allowed to enter the pool alone whilst parents remained on the deck, often with their attention elsewhere. Even when children are wearing floatation devices this is extremely dangerous – in fact floatation devices can give a false sense of security to both parent and child, and should never be a substitute for close adult supervision.

Our new User Code of Conduct clearly states the need for parents to remain responsible for their children at all times, and for a responsible adult to accompany under eights in the water. Our lifeguard team have been asked to take this extremely seriously, and will be required to ask people to leave the site if they do not adhere to this rule.

We are all working extremely hard to make Shoalstone Pool a safe and fun environment for people of all ages, but we need you to help us to make sure this is possible.

Any queries about this rule should be emailed to the directors at info@shoalstonepool.com.

Thank you!