Features: December 12th, 2014

Over the past 12 months, 40 per cent of the UK’s local authority swimming pools have faced permanent and temporary closures*, and with 77 per cent of these built pre-millennium and 43 per cent pre-1980, the demands for renovations are looking likely to grow over the coming years.

Swimming pools incur high running costs and maintenance work, and sadly a number face the actions of vandals around the country. Closure of these pools can result in considerable loss of income for leisure centres and trusts, particularly during a renovation project where revenue streams are reduced through cancelled swimming lessons and club usage. For local people it can also mean a loss of their main form of activity and exercise.

Furthermore, the accessibility and availability of swimming pools to local schools has recently been questioned after a recent survey conducted by the Amateur Swimming Association (ASA) revealed that 45 per cent of children aged seven to 11 were unable to swim 25m unaided.

Tackling the issue head on

Olympic Medallist, Steve Parry and the team at Total Swimming are looking to tackle this growing problem head on with their unique offering of temporary pool solutions and learn to swim academies. Their pioneering ‘Make a Splash’ campaign saw the erection of a temporary pool in Wanstead, London earlier this year providing access for school swimming lessons over a 12 week period with 1,200 children learning to swim and 1,000 adults taking lessons.

Their temporary pool systems, in particular, have provided an affordable option for local authorities and leisure operators seeking to maintain quality leisure provision for the local community and ensure a constant a revenue stream for the their water based activities.

UK’s first 25m temporary pool installation

In January 2014, a partnership between the East Riding of Yorkshire Council, Sport England and Total Swimming saw the installation of the UK’s first temporary swimming pool on the site of the Bridlington Leisure World, whose wet-side facilities have been closed for a year-long restoration. The purpose of this installation being to maximise their customer retention and service provision during the closure of the existing facility.

The temporary pool was installed over an 18-week period which included the construction of a solid concrete foundation, exterior housing unit, decked flooring and changing facilities. The pool, which measures 25m x 10m has been a tremendous success and has seen a considerable increase in casual swimming rates. As a result, the annual projected income of the facility has increased by £20,000.

Leader of the East Riding of Yorkshire Council, Stephen Parnaby OBE comments: “Securing temporary swimming provision so that no service is lost while the new multipurpose facility is constructed was important to the council and we are delighted that it has been so well received by the people of Bridlington.”

Supporting essential remedial work

Total Swimming has since entered a new partnership with Dumfries and Galloway Council to provide a new temporary pool near to the site of the highly publicised DG One Leisure Complex which has closed temporarily for essential remedial work. The complex, which is south-west Scotland’s largest sport, leisure and entertainment venue will be closed for two years until October 2016. During this period, local residents are now able to utilise a new temporary pool which has been erected in the car park of a nearby ice-rink.

The new 25m pool can accommodate 60 swimmers at any one time and the construction also includes a number of necessary ancillary facilities including changing rooms, toilets and reception area. Like Bridlington, the new facility ensures Dumfries and Galloway’s service provision can continue during the two year remedial work. It is already being used for public swimming, lessons and with clubs and schools also relocating to the new facility, continued revenue generation will be achieved.

Industry specialists, Spaciotempo erected the pool’s steel framed building which contains PVC coated walls. Coupled with their thermo-envelope translucent roofing system the temporary structure boasts an efficient, environmentally-friendly and cost-effective heating system.

Leisure and Sport Services Manager of Dumfries and Galloway Council, Scott Grant adds: “The installation of the temporary swimming facility solution in Dumfries has meant that Dumfries & Galloway Council has been able to deliver on its commitment to ensure that there is no gap in provision during the shutdown period of our DG One Leisure Complex. Councillors were very keen and supportive of the fact that a vital service for its residents and visitors alike remains.”

A key life skill for all

Director of Total Swimming, Steve Parry concludes: “I’m very proud to have completed our most recent 25m pool installation for Dumfries and Galloway Council, this pool will serve as an integral part of the council’s local leisure facilities over the next 2 years.

“Being able to swim is a key life skill, both in terms of safety and providing an option to maintain a healthy and active lifestyle. Our temporary pool solutions and swimming academies significantly help to tackle the ASA’s findings head on and improve the opportunities for local schools and clubs.”

For more information please visit www.totalswimming.co.uk

*according to the 2014 State of the UK Swimming Industry Report