Operational Update

Weds 24 February 2021

The pathway out of this current national lockdown has been spelled out this week. We are pleased to be working towards a mid-April opening for our indoor pool as the first stage of our reopening. The government has indicated that this will be no earlier than 12 April with the exact date confirmed nearer the time. As ever at the moment, things can change, so we will keep a close eye on updates from the government.

The team meets monthly to assess our readiness for reopening, and to review operational Covid restrictions which come from the government and industry bodies. We'll update you here after every meeting.

Our reopening date for our outdoor pools is less clear at this stage. We can only start the long process of readying it for swimmers once the serious risk of frost and ice has passed. This is why in a normal year we don't open before early May - it takes around 12 weeks to do the work to get it ready again, which we have now started. And there is a great deal to do, as we didn't open at all last summer, and a large number of tiles need repairing after the snow and ice in early February. So - subject to further guidance - we hope to open it later this summer.

At present, much depends on the distancing guidelines and as ever, we will strictly adhere to the rules to keep our swimmers safe. As soon as we know more, we will update on here. As before, we expect booking will be required for all swims - and we expect to open bookings approximately 7-10 days before the confirmed reopening date. Watch this space!

Finally, so many of you have donated incredible sums to our Mile of Pounds appeal – we are grateful for each and every penny.  We exist for our community, and hope you’ll bear with us. Thank you as ever for your fantastic support and it isn't long now until we can get you back in the water - think how good that first swim will feel!

Frequently Asked Questions - 2021

Why can't you open the outdoor pool in March, as the government allow it?

Even though outdoor pools are expected to be allowed to open in March, Faversham's outdoor pool does not open until May in a regular year. And as we didn't open at all in 2020, we have a great deal of work to do to get the pools ready for customers. The snow and ice in early February caused considerable damage to the tiling which will take time to repair. It takes approximately 12 weeks every year for us to get the outdoor pools ready for the season. So once this work is complete, we will assess the current guidelines and make further announcements regarding the outdoor pools' reopening. By starting the works now, we are getting ourselves into the best possible position to reopen. Our major focus is getting swimmers back into the water, and we are therefore also working hard to prepare the indoor pool for a mid-April reopening.

Can I book my swim now?

The booking system will reopen 7-10 days before our confirmed reopening date. As before, we do expect all swims will need to be prebooked for Test & Trace, and to keep accurate numbers to ensure swimmers' safety under restricted numbers. Again, more information will be made available once it's confirmed.

What about lessons?
There will be changes to some lessons offered by Faversham Pools. You will be contacted with details by our Lesson Coordinator if you have a regular individual lesson slot. Lessons have been confirmed as able to take place from mid-April onwards, but of course this is still subject to change. If your lesson is a group lesson offered by Dolphin Swim School, check their website for details.

What measures have you put in place to keep customers safe?

We refined our safety processes when we opened in late 2020. As you move around the Pools building you’ll see certain changes:

  • All sessions must be pre-booked online here and paid for upon arrival. This is a requirement of our reopening.
  • When you arrive, please pay at Reception ideally using a contactless card. While we can accept cash if there is no alternative we aim to become as cashless as possible. 
  • Session numbers are strictly controlled in line with government and Swim England guidelines.
  • The new online booking system will ensure that we adhere to this at all times.
  • Sanitising stations are available at intervals around the building and you will find Reception is now behind a safety screen.
  • Directional signs and a one-way system will help to ensure your distance from other users.
  • We ask swimmers to arrive on time for their pre-booked sessions as if you are early you will be asked to wait outside.
  • Between each session we are holding a half-hour cleaning and sanitisation break to ensure the pool is ready to safely welcome the next group of swimmers. We are asking swimmers to leave time at the end of their swim session to get changed and exit the changing area within the one hour timeslot allowed, so that the cleaning team have a full 30 minutes.
  • All cleaning staff have been retrained and cleaning frequency significantly increased, particularly on high-touch areas. The whole complex was deep-cleaned during our closure and cleanliness continues to be a very high priority for the team.
  • Lifeguards have all been retrained in COVID-secure lifeguarding in line with new RLSS guidelines. 

For more detailed information, our full risk assessment is available on request. 

Why do we have to book?
The way pools are able to operate now has changed in the light of guidelines from the Government and Swim England. We need to be sure that every single session at the pool meets a new lower capacity guideline and the best way to control this is by pre-booking. We also then have an accurate record of customer details and, crucially, the times they’re at the pool in case they’re needed for Test & Trace. For our customers, it will provide them with the security of knowing their visit will be as safe as possible, and the ability to plan out their swims and reducing the risk of having to queue. 

What is the booking system?
We are using Bookwhen to provide you with a safe and secure method of booking. Please visit www.bookwhen.com/favershampools to book.

Why can’t I pay online?
At present we cannot offer this service but hope to add it very soon. Please watch this space!

Can I just turn up? What if I don’t have online access?
We know some people don’t have access to the internet. If you are unable to book online, we ask swimmers to telephone in advance to check whether there is space for them at their desired time. Our receptionists can book you in over the phone using the same system as someone booking online, with the same prices and under the same terms. We ask you not to turn up without a booking as there may not be space for you and we would hate to disappoint. 

Are you going cashless like other providers?
We are asking all customers to pay by contactless card if possible. We can still accept cash if there is no alternative, but strongly prefer contactless for your safety.

How do I book?
Our booking page is here. Once on the booking site you will see session availability 7 days in advance, on a rolling basis.

Why can’t we book further in advance?
We are expecting to make adjustments to the programme as we progress through the autumn, to take into account customer feedback and requests. Booking 7 days in advance therefore gives us the flexibility to make these changes without disadvantaging customers who have booked further in advance.

How long is a session?
Most sessions are 60 minutes, and we ask you to arrive, complete your swim, change and leave the changing area in that time. This is to ensure that we can clean the facility ready for the next session to arrive, and to ensure as many swimmers can enjoy returning to the water as possible. You are free to spend time in Tides Cafe after your swim.

What if I book in for a session which I then can’t attend?
We ask you to log back into the booking page and cancel your booking, or if you are unable to do this please contact Reception on 01795 532426 which will be able to cancel it for you. 

Can I come on a ticket booked in someone else’s name?
No, tickets are sold for a specific person with their name and contact details recorded at the time of booking. This is to ensure we comply with the rules from Swim England and the government’s Test and Trace requirements. If you wish to transfer your booking to another person please go back into your booking online and modify the booking there.

Are the showers and changing rooms open?
We are asking swimmers to come ‘pool-ready’ with swimwear under their clothes, and shower at home if possible - access to showers and changing rooms is limited and this will help to avoid queues. Showers will not be available before your swim at all. If you can, we encourage you to take a basket and keep that poolside with your possessions in while you swim. Hairdryers will not be available at present.

Do I need to wear a mask?
Masks are not compulsory inside the Faversham Pools building but you may of course wear one if you wish. 

Will my swim be different?
Lane swimming is the core of our spring schedule. We have divided the pool into three double-width lanes to ensure you can keep a distance from fellow swimmers. There will be a slow, medium and fast lane and we ask you to gauge the most appropriate lane for you based upon swimmers already in the water.  Occasionally a lifeguard may ask you to adjust your lane and we ask for your cooperation with this. You do not need to specify which lane you wish to swim in when you book. 

How many swimmers will there be in each lane?
There will be a maximum of 10 swimmers in each double-width lane, in line with official guidelines. We ask swimmers to keep their distance from other swimmers in the lane and not to overtake.

When can children swim?
For the first stage of our reopening we are only allowing people aged over 16 to swim in lane sessions. This is to comply with guidelines from Swim England. Under 16s are welcome to book for one of our family swim sessions.

How does a family swim work?
For families we are dividing the pool into 6 ‘pods’, 3 shallow end and 3 deep end. Each family/household group has the use of one pod. While all ages and abilities (including babies) can swim in a shallow end family swim, we ask that only confident swimmers able to swim 25m book a deep end family swim. No buoyancy aids are allowed in the deep end family swim sessions. The flat rate for up to 5 swimmers is £19; our usual ratio applies, 1 adult per 2 under 8s in the water.

Is the baby pool open?
The learner/baby pool and jacuzzi are remaining shut for now, as we cannot safely ensure distancing in the water. Babies are welcome to book in (with their parents!) for a shallow end family swim session.

Will you provide floats?
No, we cannot provide any toys or floats at this time – please bring your own or browse the range available at reception.

What about lessons?
There will be changes to most lessons offered by Faversham Pools. You will be contacted with details by our Lesson Coordinator if you have a regular individual lesson slot. If your lesson is a group lesson offered by Dolphin Swim School, check their website for details.

Is Aquacise running as usual?
We don't yet have information about running adult classes in the early stages of our reopening. We will update as soon as we know.

What are you offering for swimmers with disabilities?
Our new Inclusive Disability Swim sessions on Monday (10-11am) and Tuesday 10.30-11.30) will offer swimmers with special educational needs or who live with disabilities the change to swim safely and in a distanced way. You need to book this session in advance. Carers are very welcome and are free of charge with appropriate ID. 

I have a season ticket, how do I book?
Season ticket holders will have 10 days’ advance warning of slot availability as opposed to the standard 7 days. You will find a ‘season ticket’ option within the session booking page which you should select, and remember to bring your season ticket with you when you come to the Pools. Season ticket holders do still need to book online to attend swim sessions.

What will the prices be?
A standard adult lane swim will be £4.80, concessions £3.80. A family swim costs £19 for up to 5 people from one household. 

I have feedback, how can I get in touch?
We expect our Reception team to be very busy during the day as they deal with ticketing and customers arriving for their timeslot. We therefore ask that you email any feedback or questions to marylka@favershampools.com who will be able to assist you. If your query relates to ticketing or if you’re unable to book online, please contact Reception on 01795 532426.

We anticipate that our weekly schedule will evolve and change as we move through the spring, and recommend keeping a close eye on our schedule. We aim to be as responsive as possible to customer demand and will add or modify sessions into the swimming week to give as many as possible the chance to swim. 

We have worked hard to organise safe, socially-distanced swimming for individuals, schools, families and groups and ask for your cooperation with our staff as we all adjust to this new way of swimming. 

Ticketing terms and conditions of sale.