BRIDGNORTH ENDOWED LEISURE CENTRE is pleased to announce the opening of its much-anticipated new changing rooms later this week.
The official opening will take place on Friday 3rd November and marks the end of a challenging two-year refurbishment programme, which culminated in a fight to save the pool from closure.
Across the country, cash-strapped councils have struggled to run and maintain sports centres, and Shropshire is no exception.
Back in 2014, Bridgnorth Endowed School stepped in to take on a 125-year lease of the land and buildings to safeguard the centre’s future, not only for its students, but for everyone in Bridgnorth and the surrounding areas.
To improve the overall fitness offering and facilities, the school joined forces with Halo Leisure, a not-for-profit operator, that manages 22 leisure centres on behalf of local authorities throughout Herefordshire, Bridgend County, Wiltshire and Shropshire.
Investment for the redevelopment of the centre, which was built in the 70s, did not include alterations to the swimming pool itself, but unexpected structural issues were discovered while work was being carried out in the changing area.
Problems with steel support columns resulted in immediate closure of the pool, and a huge financial shortfall.
Local people were concerned about the prospect of losing the town’s only public swimming pool so, Bridgnorth mother-of-two, Nancy Brown, moved quickly to galvanise the community’s support by spearheading a campaign to save it.
Over the past six months, in an effort to bridge the £70,000 gap, she has worked tirelessly to secure funding from Shropshire Council, the Town Council, local businesses and organisations, and the town’s residents.
Fundraising events, including a steps challenge, family disco, bake sale, spin-a-thon, and High Street raffle, went on to pay for the condemned hoist, replacing it with a ‘Poolpod’ – the latest in swimming pool lift technology.
“The generosity of local people and businesses has been overwhelming, and the town was 100% behind the campaign to get the pool reopened as soon as possible,” Nancy reports.
“The fight to save these vital leisure facilities in Bridgnorth has been a real triumph of community spirit and determination.”
According to Sue Underhill from Bridgnorth Endowed School, “The community support has been incredible and without it, this would not have been possible.”
“We’d like to thank everyone for all the fundraising that was needed and, in particular, we’d like to thank Nancy Brown for her relentless drive and passion.”
The brand new, spacious ‘village style’ changing rooms will provide much more flexibility for families, as well as being more accessible for disabled swimmers and centre users.