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Guidance for Community Owned and Managed Swimming Pools

At a time when many swimming pools are under increasing pressure, the ASA and the Asset Transfer Unit (the provider of expert advice on the transfer of underused land and buildings) are showing local residents how they can take over running their own facility rather than see its doors closed for good.

We have produced Guidance for Community Owned and Managed Swimming Pools – a document inspired by the stories of facilities like the Portishead Open-Air Pool in North Somerset.

The pool was closed in September 2008 by North Somerset Council but was reopened in May 2009 after local residents petitioned for the opportunity to run the pool for the community via a Trust.

The document offers advice on how best to establish a Trust, considers the processes which will lead to success and explains how to avoid some of the pitfalls.

As well as Portishead, the Guidance gives five other case studies of pools that have passed from local authority ownership or operation to the community sector.  These are:

  • Jesmond Swimming Pool, Newcastle
  • Lenton Swimming Pool, Nottingham
  • Zest Health Centre, Sheffield
  • Chipping Norton Lido, Oxfordshire
  • Coin Street, London

But the document also warns local authorities should not see community ownership as a ‘quick fix’ to pool management problems.  Community enterprise pools are more likely to succeed if they are transferred in reasonable working order and fully serviced, with research into future opportunities.

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