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Great Progress At The Pool

Plenty remains to be done, but 2013 was an extremely productive year for FoBSP

2013 proved to be the Sea Pool’s busiest season for more than a decade. Over 50,000 people visited the historic tidal swimming pool on Summerleaze beach to enjoy the wonderful summer weather in safe surroundings.

The Sea Pool hosted a range of community events this year, including the school’s Life-Saving Festival, the Eden Project’s Big Lunch, and the ASA’s SwimSafe initiative. More than 2400 children received FREE swimming and beach safety lessons at the Sea Pool as part of SwimSafe, and the ASA made a special point of congratulating the Sea Pool staff for their attitude, helpfulness, knowledge of the Pool’s importance to Bude.

The Friends of Bude Sea Pool, a local charity, manages and funds the Pool entirely independently. FoBSP lifeguards were on station from April through to October, in all weather conditions, looking after the Pool and all the people who use it. FoBSP pays for the Pool’s staffing, maintenance and ongoing renovation from donations, sponsorship, fund-raising and memberships. FoBSP completed two important structural projects this year; the new water-gate which allowed the Pool to be drained and dredged, and connecting the site to mains utilities which is a key requirement for all future projects.

At the group’s AGM in October the FoBSP committee officially thanked all those who’ve contributed to the cause and made 2013 such a success. The group’s finances were reviewed at this meeting and the Treasurer confirmed that funds were in place to cover anticipated staff costs for the 2014 season, plus the first stage of urgent repairs to the sea wall (expected to cost over £30,000). The retaining wall is in urgent need of substantial repairs after years of neglect before FoBSP took over. FoBSP have raised enough for the first section, but need to secure a similar amount to complete phase two of the repairs.

The Treasurer emphasised the importance of grant funding, support from local businesses, and membership fees. Membership has risen to 1675 this year, up from 1008 in November 2012. This still leaves a considerable gap to the target of 3000 members which would provide a stable revenue stream to cover the Pool’s running costs.

The AGM also discussed the possibility of reducing the lifeguard cover in 2014 and saving up to £10,000 in costs; cutting through Coach Rock to provide a level walkway around the Pool; applying for further grants for repairs and development; the damage done to the Pool by continual coastal erosion; the ambition to establish a visitor facility at the poolside with toilets; issues with anti-social behaviour; re-establishing graduated steps rather than ladders into the water; the build-up of algae and slippery surfaces.

The committee thanked all the fund-raisers and volunteers who have supported the Sea Pool this year. Without the efforts of the volunteers – those on the committee and all those who help out on a less formal basis – the Pool would be forced to close. The Chairman noted that as a couple of long-standing committee members have stepped down this autumn, new faces would be very welcome to join the group.

Volunteers with experience in grant funding, marketing, admin, websites, and so on, or who could help at events, cleaning, painting or with maintenance would all be appreciated. FoBSP’s co-ordinator, Fay Hargreaves, would be delighted to hear from anyone with some time to spare who could help out: admin@budeseapool.org

FoBSP members are welcome to read the full minutes of the AGM including the treasurer’s report, which are also available from Fay.

Paul Tilzey, FoBSP chairman, ended the AGM by talking about the ‘big picture’ for Bude. Thanks in part to the excellent PR generated by the efforts to save the Sea Pool, Bude’s national profile is growing and there’s an increasing need for more facilities in the town. The Sea Pool is one of the town’s vital assets and, in his view, any improvements to the Sea Pool can only be good for Bude and the surrounding area.