Facing closure in March 2018, Moseley Road Baths needed to raise the funds needed to keep swimming. They went on to raise an incredible £26,495 from 345 supporters in just 56 days.
Unquestionably one of Birmingham’s most important heritage buildings, Moseley Road Baths is also one of the nation’s most significant swimming pools – standing as the oldest Grade II listed building still open for public swimming.
This much-loved and well-used community pool saw nearly 80,000 people swim in the pool just last year, whether that was in aqua-aerobics or just having fun splashing around in the water. For children especially, swimming is a life-saving skill, ready to be used if and when needed.
First opening for public swimming in 1907, Moseley Road Baths has become an icon of Birmingham. However, after facing closure in 2018, a loud and vocal community campaign, with the support of national and international heritage organisations, led to a reprieve.
Turning to the crowd to secure the future of the Baths, the intention was clear: raise £13,552 to train 8 volunteers in lifeguarding, swim teaching as well as in customer service skills, health and safety to continue offering safe swimming on a regular basis. The story of their crowdfund was very different though, as they went on to raise a huge £26,495 from 345 supporters in the local community.
Kathryn, MSB Trustee, said, “Crowdfunding was great for Moseley Road Baths, not just in terms of the money raised (which far exceeded our expectations) but as a way of finding out the level of support that existed. The crowdfunding campaign helped us to mobilise our supporters and gave opportunities for celebrities to get involved which gave us new PR opportunities. Because the success of our venture relies on the community continuing to love and use Moseley Road Baths, the crowdfund was a good way of gauging support – I hope it made people feel involved.”
Within the 26,495 raised, MRB even unlocked £8,750 of extra funding from Birmingham City Council. Kathryn added, “We have a lot of financial constraints and running a swimming pool is expensive, which means we need as much financial support as possible!”
Intended to support Birmingham citizens in leading healthy, happy, independent lives within their own homes and communities, the support from the Community Innovation Fund alongside the unwavering support of the crowd has seen the Baths make a huge comeback within the community.
Kathryn said, “Without all the fundraising (including the crowdfunding) we wouldn’t have been able to keep this building open for swimming and it would probably have closed earlier this year. Instead, we are open 7 days a week for swimming and have provided training for lots of members of the local community in things such as lifeguarding, and first aid. The fundraising and the work we’ve done has allowed us to keep this swimming pool open and to maintain community support.”
And Kathryn’s top tips to others thinking about crowdfunding? “Be prepared for a lot of hard work! We thought carefully about our rewards and posted every day on social media which was very time consuming. We also put a lot of time into thinking about PR opportunities and messages throughout our campaign.”
If you have a community based project or social enterprise and are looking to crowdfund, then you could also be eligible for extra funding. Find out more about the funds we have on offer and get in touch today.