Pool is back in the swim after £440,000 revamp

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A SHEFFIELD swimming pool reopens next week after a 12 week refurbishment to secure its long-term future.

Public swimming, lessons and other sessions will resume from Monday at King Edward’s swimming pool in Clarkehouse Road, Broomhill, which faced closure without the revamp.

A £440,000 programme to upgrade the building and equipment is being completed, although the community trust that runs the pool will continue fundraising so that additional decoration can be carried out.

The trust took over the running of the pool 20 years ago when the council said it could no longer afford to keep it going.

After years of trying to find the money for improvements, a financial package was pulled together for asbestos removal and the installation of a new roof, boiler, air handling unit and electrics.

The work will reduce energy costs by 62%, and reduce the cost of repairs and maintenance, to tip the community enterprise from making a minor loss to a profitable business.

“It has been an intensive and essential programme to put the mechanics in place so the pool is on a sustainable basis for the next 25 years,” said John Cawthorne, who chairs the trust.

“The main work has been done in such a short period of time – after getting the money together in such difficult times.

“There wasn’t sufficient money nor time to do certain significant redecoration and cosmetic work, but we expect to be able to do this in the next year or so.

“However, we’re glad to be back in business and to be able to welcome back customers and we thank them for their forbearance over the last 12 weeks. We also want to thank our funders.”

The contract was carried out by Vinci Construction, which has been working on the redevelopment of the neighbouring Kind Edward VII Upper School.

King Edward’s is one of only three community run public pools in Sheffield – the others are at Chapeltown and Upperthorpe – and runs swimming lessons for more than 500 children, along with public sessions.

Although it has remained popular since being taken over from the council, the condition of the building, which dates from the 1930s, when it was funded by parents of King Edward VII School pupils, has left the trust vulnerable to hefty repair bills. The roof was leaking and the last major overhaul of the building was in the 1970s.

Meanwhile, financial pressures have increased as a result of soaring energy prices.

The council has contributed £250,000 to the upgrade, fulfilling a commitment made in 2010.

Most of the council money has come through a capital receipt from developers to be invested in community facilities at more than 30 school sites.

In addition, Viridor Credits Environmental Company is giving £50,000, the Garfield Weston Foundation, £25,000, and two Sheffield companies are contributing £20,000 each – Lablogic Systems Ltd and Mayfield Fulwood Ltd.

An anonymous donor is also giving £20,000 and a £55,000 loan has been obtained from Key Fund, which supports social enterprises.