We want to get more children and adults swimming in Heathfield!
We are the Friends Association for the Cross in Hand Church of England Primary School in Heathfield, East Sussex. We have an outdoor swimming pool at our school which is very lucky as there are no public swimming pools in Heathfield or surrounding area. The nearest public swimming pool is 9 miles away!
Swimming is included in the national curriculum for primary schools but unfortunately the reality is that with the financial pressure experienced by most schools, this is a part of the curriculum which is reduced to the bare minimum for some schools. Recent research by the UK Swimming Teacher Association showed that 1 in 3 children between the ages of 10-16 currently cannot swim!
We think this is a real shame. Swimming is such an important life skill. It is a skill once mastered stays with you for a life time and it could potentially be a lifesaving skill. Not to mention it is a good way for children to stay fit and active.
Unfortunately; with the lack of a public swimming pool in our town the statistics are more than likely true for the children of Heathfield and surrounding villages. Taking your children to regular swimming lessons requires a car and the lessons are often very expensive on top of this! Many families simply do not have the time and money needed to help their children become confident swimmers. And we don’t think this is fair (or safe)!
Through the years there have been plans to build a public swimming pool in Heathfield but the cost of building a swimming pool from scratch are so high that the council simply can’t afford it and the reality is that the residents of Heathfield will be waiting many years before a public swimming pool becomes a reality.
But, we have a dream: We want to create a swimming pool for the local community at our school. We want to let all children in Heathfield have access to swimming lessons at our swimming pool. For 8 months a year we want to use our swimming pool to run an after school swimming school for children and adults. Furthermore we want to open the pool for intensive swimming lessons during the summer holidays.
This way more than 250 children and adults could have swimming lessons on a weekly basis without having to travel or pay for expensive private lessons.
We have a good size outdoor swimming pool with associated changing rooms and toilet which is currently used for in-school swimming lessons and fun-swims for our pupils after school. We have two professional local swimming teachers who are dedicated to helping us maintain and evolve our use of the swimming pool. And last but not least we have a great force of volunteers; parents, teachers, carers and governors who help maintain, clean, organise, lifeguard and fund raise every year to keep the pool going and keep our children swimming.
However, to open our doors to the children of Heathfield our swimming pool would require some investment. The pool is currently only used for in school swimming lessons and some fun swims after school and running a swim school from the pool would represent a significant increase in the usage of the pool (approximately triple the usage of the pool). This would be great as it would mean more people get the benefit of a resource which is otherwise underused but unfortunately the pool and equipment would need to be updated to service this usage level.
The project would be split into two stages:
Stage 1 – essential repairs to the swimming pool and technical pool operations equipment
Scope of works; new boiler, upgrade pipes and pump, install dosing system, upgrade pool ladders
Stage 2 – refurbishment of the pool area and essential health and safety upgrades
Scope of works; re-surfacing surrounding of the pool, replace copping stones, upgrade changing rooms and toilets, install covered spectator area and repair seating area