The efforts of the Shoalstone Pool maintenance volunteers were given a real boost this week when the Friends of Shoalstone Pool covered the costs of a new petrol pump to replace the one that failed at the end of the summer season.
The pump is an essential piece of kit for pool cleans, which need to be carried out regularly – even out of season – to keep the pool in good condition and protect it from the worst ravages of the winter weather. The quantity of water needed means that freshwater is not an option for cost and environmental reasons, but sourcing the water from the sea brings with it its own challenges!
Volunteers Ted Stone and Charlie Gorton have been working hard over the past few weeks to finesse a system which will collect clean seawater from the bay and minimise the congestion caused by seaweed. With power of the new pump behind them this worked brilliantly at the latest pool clean to blast away the muck left behind by high seas and heavy weather.
The FoSP donated £1000 from their fundraising efforts to pay for the pump and associated materials, and were there on Tuesday 15th November to see it all in action.
As Carol Pearsall observed, “a man is only as good as his tools and we haven’t had a decent pump for years”. Sheila Andrews agreed, saying “it used to be so time-consuming – this is much more efficient”.
This is the first step in the efforts of Shoalstone Pool Limited to give their volunteer maintenance crew the equipment they need to keep the pool in the best condition they can.
Sophie Walker-Haworth, volunteer chairperson of SPL, said:
“Over the past couple of years it has become clear that the day to day maintenance of a ninety year old facility is particularly challenging without the support of local authority services. Any maintenance support we access from the local authority we have to pay for, and we do not have the funds to continue to do this.
The challenge is only going to get bigger over the next couple of years as dwindling council budgets mean that we are taking over responsibility for the upkeep of the public toilets and car park on site, as well as the community green that overlooks the pool.
What we lack, however, in equipment and local authority support, we make up for with our fantastic volunteer maintenance team, who between them give many hours of their time to keep the pool and the surrounding area in good condition.
Our goal is to build on the groundswell of community support that has kept this pool going for so many years by purchasing a bank of equipment so that our maintenance team can continue their work.
We have a wish list of equipment including a petrol pump, a petrol pressure washer, a motorised trolley, maintenance crew uniforms, protective clothing, and a range of other items of maintenance equipment that would truly enhance the working conditions on the pool site.
We want to give our maintenance crew a renewed sense of pride and identity, and to show them just how much their work is valued by the wider community - as well as enabling them to complete it more safely, efficiently and effectively.”
The team at Shoalstone Pool are currently awaiting the outcome of the Aviva Community Fund awards which, if they were successful, would allow them to purchase all of the equipment they need. In the meantime though this donation from the Friends of Shoalstone Pool is definitely a step in the right direction.