On 30 October 1907, Moseley Road Baths first opened for public swimming and so, at the end of this month, the Baths will be 110 years old.
Unquestionably one of Birmingham's most important heritage buildings, Moseley Road Baths is also one of the nation's most significant swimming pools - it is the oldest Grade II* Listed Building still open for public swimming.
A much-loved and well-used community pool, last year nearly 80,000 people swam in the pool, did aqua-aerobics, or just had fun splashing around in the water. For children especially, swimming is a life-saving skill, ready to be used, if, and when, needed.
Identified for closure by Birmingham City Council, a loud and vocal community campaign - with the support of national and international heritage organisations - led to a reprieve. The newly formed Moseley Road Baths Community Interest Company (MRB CIC) now has 9 months to develop a workable model for swimming, enabling it to take over operational responsibility for water activity from April 2018.
But, if the future of swimming at Moseley Road Baths is to be secured, we need your help!
Our Crowdfunder appeal target is to raise £13,552 to train 8 volunteers in lifeguarding, swim teaching as well as in customer service skills, health and safety, etc. Each volunteer must be trained so we can offer safe swimming on every occasion we are open.
If we can raise this amount, we can ensure that when we take over, swimming at Moseley Road Baths will continue to be enjoyable and safe.
Once we have raised this amount, we will still very much need your donations and they will be put towards things such as keeping the water hygienic so that people can enjoy swimming in a clean pool, and to pay for the lighting and heating.
Could you support us by giving a donation or claiming one of our rewards which will help us keep this heritage pool open?
Our Business Plan shows that the Baths can break even within three years but, in the first year, we need to raise £75,000 to help pay for essential things like heat, light and water. If we can raise some of that, we're part of the way there - if we can raise all of it, that's great. We realise that £75,000 is a huge amount of money and so that's why we urgently need your support to meet these critcal costs that will keep this important heritage pool open.
Your donation, however large or small, will enable us to make this community pool work in the long term - providing valuable training and experience for volunteers, helping people get active and keep fit, and giving children the chance to learn to swim.
We believe that it is important that community pools such as Moseley Road Baths remain open, located at the centre of their neighbourhoods, accessible to everyone. We know that here in Birmingham, some children cannot easily get to go swimming; for others, swimming may be a luxury as paying the rent or feeding the family has to come first. That is why MRB CIC is determined to ensure that community swimming continues. Working with advisors and volunteers, we've won our first grant to help us develop the future plan and have put in untold voluntary hours to keep swimming local.
Securing the future of swimming is only one piece of the jigsaw. We're also working as part of the recently- formed Moseley Road Baths Coalition to create a sustainable future for the Baths. MRB CIC, alongside the Friends of Moseley Road Baths, the National Trust, Historic England and The World Monuments Fund are currently developing longer term, sustainable plans for the building's use and are working with Birmingham City Council to secure capital funds to make urgent repairs.
We also know that many people support our aims, but simply cannot afford to give anything. We understand this and ask that you sign up for our newsletter, so that you can help us spread the word to as many people as possible: http://www.friendsofmrb.co.uk/mailing-list/