Community Transforms Pool Operations

Waterside Pool on the Isle of Wight is a real community success story. As a local authority-run pool it was losing £250,000 every year with threat of closure; today, since being taken over by the Waterside Community Trust, they have increased memberships, swimming lesson enrolments and increased the range of fitness classes and facilities available.

To save the Waterside Pool from closure just over 12 months ago, seven of its users formed the Waterside Community Trust; they managed to keep the existing staff on and in one year have turned the centre around to a break even business managing the following numbers:

  • LA memberships totalled 200. In one year, starting with 0 members they’ve managed to sell 600 memberships.
  • LA Swimming Lessons totalled 280. In one year they’ve managed to raise this number to 467 children out of 614 places (70% full). School lessons increased with new schools added to the list and they only lost schools that were closed through LA reclassification.
  • Aquafit classes are now about to hit 12 per week, as compared to just7 under the LA.

Phil Weston, Waterside Community Trust’s Programming Manager and STA Tutor said: “These achievements come as a result of hard work and determination. Thanks to the amalgamation of community and staff we have created a competitively priced, outstanding end product and we are determined to keep improving the facilities and deliver the highest standard of customer care possible.

We are now working to expand what we do,and imminently we will be opening a new outdoor gym and indoor sauna area. These utilise areas that were previously shut and left to decay through LA budget cuts.”

Waterside Community Trust also works closely with STA. “On the Island STA is the prominent supplier of Lifeguards, with the four main pools all having 90% of the lifeguards holding an STA Lifesaving Qualification,” explained Phil.

“With the help of STA Tutor Jo Cooper, we have also recently started sending our swimming teachers on STA courses and are very pleased with the results. Plus, one of my colleagues is doing his Pool Plant Tutor course and we are both STA First Aid Tutors – we will be offering first aid training to the locals very soon.”

Waterside Community Trust is managed by a small hands-on team comprising a Technical Manager, Programming Manager and Personnel Manager. Phil added: “As managers we work reception, cover breaks on poolside and work with the shifts, including cleaning and teaching when needed, as well as the management roles that we cover.”

The Trust also employs 22 other employees, from a receptionist and café apprentice to teachers, lifeguards and Aquafit instructors. Plus there are 4 shift leaders that work alongside the managers and a couple of Trustees working with each area.

“Small team, massive results,” said Phil.

See for more information.

Community, Pool Plant

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