Operational Update

Weds 25 November 2020

Many of you will be aware that we are entering a period of prolonged uncertainty. It seems likely that Faversham will continue under severe restrictions in the near future.

We have therefore made the very difficult decision to remain closed until the new year.

At every stage, the team here at Faversham Pools has applied consistent criteria to ensure we can open safely. We know that the World Health Organisation has confirmed that COVID-19 does not transmit through water while swimming. We’ve worked hard to provide safe, socially-distanced facilities for you. However, we expect that over the coming weeks we will not be able to operate a number of our usual services. Therefore, opening with even more limitations would mean operating at a significant loss. This presents an unacceptable financial risk to our charity and our ability to continue to operate in the longer term. 

We want to reassure you that we haven’t made this decision lightly and will review it regularly, taking into consideration the national guidelines, the infection rates locally and our reopening criteria. While we know that the tier system can change regularly, we can’t set our strategy on a day-by-day or even week-by-week basis – opening or closing a pool of our size takes quite some preparation and time. However, the team is using this time constructively and will work to refine and update procedures so that we are able to reopen stronger, ready to face the challenges and opportunities ahead.

Finally, so many of you have donated incredible sums to our Mile of Pounds appeal – and we want you to know that by staying closed for a couple more weeks, we are safeguarding those donations which will help us plan for a much brighter future once this is over.  We exist for our community, and hope you’ll bear with us just a little longer.

Frequently Asked Questions - Reopening 2021

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

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 system will be launched on 2 September and you’ll find a booking tab at the top of this website after that date. 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 new autumn 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 are offering two Aquacise sessions each week, Tuesday 12-12.45 and Thursdays 1-1.45. You need to book online in advance for an Aquacise session but will continue to pay £2.50 direct to the instructor poolside.

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.

Can I use my loyalty card as before?
Our paper loyalty cards are being phased out on 31 December 2020. We will honour your free swim until that date so please be sure to use up any loyalty card credit before then.  

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.