Holding an AGM on Zoom was a new experience for Faversham Pools! We were pleased to be joined by so many friendly faces from the board of trustees, key staff and members of the public.
Chair’s Welcome: Mick Ellsmore
Mick talked about the challenges the charity has faced over the past 18 months, and how worrying things were in those first weeks of the pandemic. He noted that the trustees adopted a policy which proved to be a successful one:
- Firstly, we reduced all costs to an absolute minimum, and all but a skeleton team were furloughed.
- Secondly, all fundraising resources were redirected to applying for any and all available funds. We were grateful to receive a substantial grant from Sport England’s National Leisure Recovery Scheme, and ongoing support from Swale Borough Council.
- Lastly, an incredible outpouring of community support has meant that the Pools has emerged from the pandemic with its reserves intact, ready to face a brighter future.
General Manager: Jon Lazenby
Jon has been in post since August. He talked about the current operational challenges the pools are facing as a result of the long covid shutdown. This equipment was not designed to be switched off for such a long period. It has taken its toll – as proven by the current issues with the indoor learner pool. However, there is much of which to be proud. Faversham Swim School has launched and now all lessons are in-house. Despite still having a long waiting list we are working hard to accommodate as many of those as possible. And thanks to Faversham Town Council, the Sunset Swims this autumn have helped the Pools make the most of its famous lido year-round.
Fundraising & Development
Trustee Denise Kesson and Development Manager Marylka Gowlland then talked about the Pools’ current fundraising priorities, and plans for redevelopment. Central among these is the need to renovate the ageing changing village. Any feedback is welcomed from users as we start planning the design and layout. They also talked about the Pools’ new logo and branding. Local agency Ceremonious gave their skill and experience to help us rebrand – a fresh new look as we look to the future.
Questions & Answers from our Swimmers
‘After the success of the open air swims this autumn, will there be a review of the open air pool season, to open earlier in the year and stay open into September?’
A: Yes, this autumn has proven that there is the demand for the outdoor pool to stay open and the Sunset Swims will restart in January for adult lane swimming. We’ve had the most fantastic support and have welcomed in a completely new group of swimmers – we couldn’t be prouder of adding this to our regular programme.
There have been rumours that the season tickets will no longer be available – is a change planned?
A: A large number of customers have told us that they find the traditional model of season tickets to be restrictive. People wanted to be able to buy a ticket at a time that suits them, not just at the start of the three traditional ‘seasons’. Jon outlined his plans to bring in monthly tickets, which will still offer the same great value as the usual season ticket but offer much more flexibility.
What is happening with the baby pool?
A: We have had serious issues with the pool. The water looks cloudy because the filter is not working properly – sand is used to filter the water and the sand is causing the cloudiness. This week, we have a specialist in who is cleaning out the filters and hopefully this will resolve the problem. We’ll announce it as soon as we have good news!