Campaigners fighting to save a treasured pool that has been welcoming swimmers in south Bristol for 85 years are asking people for their views on their planned community take-over of the facility.
Friends of Jubilee Pool say they are ‘working tirelessly’ to prevent the permanent closure of the Knowle swimming pool, which opened in 1937 and has been under threat for some years, by taking it into community ownership from Bristol City Council.
To make this happen, the group is currently in the process of a ‘community asset transfer’ - but say they need input from residents to help them figure out how they can run the pool as a not-for-profit facility that is ‘sustainable, accessible and of a high quality’.
The deadline to fill out the survey is February 19.
Councillor Gary Hopkins, who recently co-formed the Knowle Community Party after leaving the Liberal Democrats, said: “Knowle is the sort of place where people get together, fight for things and don’t give up.
“Bristol City Council need to respect what’s being done here and help with the transfer, rather than letting it happen begrudgingly.
“The pool first came under threat of closure in 2017 and customers were told they would have to go to Hengrove, then the council took advantage of the coronavirus pandemic to try and close the pool again.
“We had a huge fight-back and have now put a structure in place for it to be run by the community.”
The importance of the pool was highlighted during a sponsored swim last week, which raised more than £27,000 towards the group’s campaign.
Sue Pratt, a member of the Friends of Jubilee Pool, uses the facility three times a week and spoke to BristolWorld about how its closure would affect the Knowle area.
She said: “I’ve been coming here since I was a child with school, my dad used to swim here and later I brought my own children.
“It’s still an absolute joy to come down here and enjoy the water, which is always lovely and warm.
“The impact on the community would be massive if the pool closed.
“It’s not just about the physical side of a swim, it’s the mental side as well as making new friends.
“After lockdown, the pool gave everyone the chance to meet up again.
“The staff are lovely and helped me gain the confidence to get back in the water after my partial knee replacement a few years ago.”
If the transfer is successful, Bristol City Council would hand over their 35 year lease to the group - but it is understood they’d still have to share a chunk of any profits made with the authority.
A final decision will be made on the bid by the city council by the end of May 2022, with the pool potentially under new management by July.
The current operator Parkwood Leisure has a contract to run the pool until March - but this could be extended by the city council.
To give your views to the survey by the Friends of Jubilee Pool, click here, before February 19.
For more information visit the Jubilee Pool website.