Hopes of reopening Elswick Pool received a boost this week.
Despite being at the heart of the local community, the pool closed on 31st October 2015.
But now Newcastle City Council have announced they will hand over the pool’s lease to the Elswick Community Pool and Leisure charity, an organisation whose board is exclusively made up of local residents.
The charity will dedicate itself to getting the pool reopened, using a blueprint drawn up by Newcastle City Council, local volunteers, partner agencies and funding bodies.
The blueprint would see the pool reopen with a café and sauna and – perhaps most importantly – with its future secured. The plan was created after consultation with more than 800 local people.
The city council have been looking to bring in a community group to manage Elswick Pool ever since its closure was announced.
Newcastle City Council will now press ahead with essential repair work on the pool, such as fixing the roof and water pump. Further maintenance work will then be carried out by the Elswick Community Pool and Leisure charity.
The pool is expected to reopen before the new school year starts in September 2019.
It is thought that the reopening of the pool will create 20 jobs. In addition, 24 lifeguards will be trained in partnership with Newcastle City College.
The Elswick Community Pool and Leisure charity will manage the day-to-day running of the pool, with support from the team running Jesmond Pool, a similar venture which is managed by Jesmond Leisure Centre.
The charity has launched a crowd funding campaign to get the cash they need to achieve these objectives. The campaign aims to raise £100,000.
If you would like to contribute to the campaign, please visit https://wonderful.org/charity/elswickcommunitypoolandleisurecentrecio.
Funding has also been secured from the Big Lottery Fund, the community charitable company Centre West, the independent trust Power to Change, and the Elswick and Monument Ward Community Fund.
Newcastle City Council’s cabinet member for culture, sport and public health, Cllr Kim McGuiness, said, “I am really pleased to announce that the development of Elswick Pool has reached this vital milestone and that the community group can start bringing the facility back to life.”
“This is a celebration of the brilliant work of the local residents and volunteers who have set out ambitious plans and taken a dedicated approach to the development since the closure was announced three years ago.”
“Newcastle City Council is keen to work with community groups to support leisure facilities and allow residents, voluntary organisations and charities to step forward and manage these much-loved buildings.”
“I believe strongly that creating vibrant neighbourhoods that support all residents, families and visitors to live healthy, active lives is vitally important and has a positive impact on the health and wellbeing of the whole city.”
“Community interest groups who create workable plans are important in protecting these services. I look forward to seeing this pool thrive and working together in the future.”
Diane Tait – speaking on behalf of the Elswick Community Pool and Leisure charity – said, “We are absolutely delighted at this decision and would like to pay tribute to the 3,500 residents who have backed us all the way in our campaign to get the pool reopened.”
“We are looking forward to working with them, the city council and our partners in providing a fantastic facility that can be enjoyed by the whole community.”