Sea Pool returned to local management: next group meeting Tuesday May 1st
On Friday 30th March 2012, Cornwall Council transferred responsibility for the day-to-day management of the iconic Sea Pool at Bude to the Friends of Bude Sea Pool. We, the FoBSP, are a group of volunteers who were energised into action at the idea that this 80 year old facility might be forced to close.
Dozens of local groups have backed the FoBSP’s efforts and helped with fund-raising, organising all manner of inventive events to bring cash into the coffers. Recently, funds have been boosted by contributions from Bude Youth Theatre, St Petroc’s School, Bude Foyer and Bude Jive Club, as well as the spring Fashion Show hosted by Adventure International and supported by the town’s top hair stylists and fashion retailers. Other local authorities, including Launcells and Jacobstow Parish Councils, have chipped in, reflecting the Sea Pool’s importance as a visitor attraction for the broader area beyond the Bude town boundary.
The FoBSP has also secured grant funding from the NatWest Community Force scheme and Seaside Towns programme, as well as some £6000 in business sponsorship from a range of local and national companies. Many other private donations have been made, underlining the Sea Pool’s crucial role as a public facility which provides safe bathing on Summerleaze beach. Cornwall Council has agreed to grant the FOBSP a 99-year lease for the pool, and provided one-off capital funding for outstanding maintenance and to provide the FoBSP with some financial security in the first few years.
However, taking the helm of one of the few tidal swimming pools still open in the UK today has been far from straightforward. Urgent repairs are needed to the Pool’s structure and the FoBSP has sought out the professional expertise of Cornish company Falmouth Divers who are experts in constructing and repairing marine structures. The FoBSP has initiated a lifeguard apprentice scheme in partnership with local training company Integer, with the aim of providing vital career skills to young people from the area. A range of traditional beach huts has been commissioned from Shed Scene; a timber building specialist based in Bude. Leasing out these beach huts, which will be sited above the Pool itself with stunning views out over the Atlantic, will generate vital revenue to keep the Pool ticking over in years to come.
Setting up a charity, ploughing through the legal paperwork and juggling all of these projects has kept the FoBSP committee very busy – especially as everyone on the team is working in their spare time. But it’s been worth it, says FoBSP Chairman, Paul Tilzey.
‘I, like most of the people of Bude, have a love affair with the pool. As children, we played, jumped, dived and swam, with no restrictions, in the safe confines of the pool. It is only right that we should allow our children, and children for generations to come, the privilege of using the facility. It is vitally important for Bude, as a major tourist destination, to look after and improve this iconic structure. The Friends are delighted to be able to take it over as the representatives of the people and, with the community’s support, look forward to transforming it.’
Now that the handover process is complete, the FoBSP will concentrate on its lifeguard programme for the summer, completing the beach huts project, looking for further grant funding for substantial renovations, and so on. All of these matters will be up for discussion at the group’s next open meeting which is on Tuesday 1st May 2012 at 7pm at the Parkhouse Centre in Bude. All Sea Pool supporters are very welcome to attend; you don’t have to be an FoBSP member to come along (although joining is the best way to help us keep the Pool open in the long term).
If you can offer any assistance or expertise; practical or admin help, or could organise fund-raising events, please come along to the meeting on May 1st. Alternatively, volunteers can contact us at any time via email@example.com