Village Swimming Pool

Our community pool

“If you really love something, that never dies, and it never goes away. And that’s what it’s like with swimming”; Becky Adlington, (British Olympic gold medalist London 2012).

The 2021 season

The parish council will follow the Guidelines on Covid-19 related health and safety implications this summer when running the pool for community use. Please be aware that these guidelines may alter as local conditions change, but we will keep the pool open as long as possible, as we’re fully aware what an important part it will play for you all this summer. However we must ask all our members, please can you help us to keep all our pool users Covid safe this summer by taking all sensible precautions.

For Covid safety; We need to limit the numbers in the pool area this summer to four households only at any one time.

For fairness to all members – time slots of one hour have been allocated in the booking app, so that in a spell of good weather this holiday everybody should get a chance to use the pool. Please do limit your booking to one hour per day – we may be able to relax this as the summer goes on, but at present when we know everyone is so keen to use the pool, it will give everyone the same opportunity.

Many thanks, and we hope you all have a really good summer!

Key information

Opening Times

For community use

The pool may be used out of school hours between the following times:

During the school holidays: opening date Saturday 24th June.
  • Weekdays  – 9am to 9pm
  • Weekends – 10am to 9pm.
During term time:
  • Weekdays –  unlikely this year
  • Weekends – use for community members after beginning of autumn term is still to be confirmed – this will depend on the water temperature which begins to fall quite rapidly in September, and also on negotiation of possible Covid precautions with the school.

Training Course dates for 2021

UPDATE – all courses now completed, and all memberships issued for this year.

N.B. Before booking please make sure you have read through the Booking 2021 Information and the Membership conditions below.

Further information

Pool History

The First Pool

Official opening of the first pool in 1965.

Living so close to the river and the sea it’s essential that our children learn to swim, and for many years swimming lessons have been an important part of the school curriculum. There wasn’t a public pool in Kingsbridge until the 1990’s, but there has been a pool here at Aveton Gifford Primary School for over 50 years. The first pool was built in 1965 in part of the playground by the original school buildings for the princely sum of £600! £250 of this came from Government funding, but the remaining £350 came from local donations – the Parochial Church Council gave half the proceeds of their Summer Fete, the Cricket Club held a barn dance and gave half the proceeds from that, and the rest came in from voluntary subscriptions.

The first pool was a raised wooden tank-like structure with a liner and a ladder to get in and out, and although it was very small it was just big enough for lessons and for children to swim a length without their feet touching the bottom. It was even big enough for an annual swimming sports day with races, although parents coming to watch did get fairly wet as well!

The New Pool

By 1991 the pool had served the school very well in the 26 years since it was built but it was requiring quite a lot of annual maintenance, also the original school building was about to undergo major work which would double its size and encroach on the site of the pool. It was obvious to Tony Bishop, the headmaster, that it needed to be replaced elsewhere with something more up-to-date. He enlisted the support of the school governors and the PTA, and over the next couple of years some land behind the school was acquired, funding was negotiated, and the new pool was built, mainly by a group of parents led by Paul Holmes who was PTA chairman at the time.

The intention right from the start was that this new pool would be for the use of the whole community; since it was opened on a lovely sunny afternoon in June 1993 by local TV celebrity Ron Bendall, many more of our children have learned to swim in it in the summer term, and it has been used in the evenings and during the summer holidays by local residents. For a small place we have been really lucky to have the pool, and one of the best sounds in the village during summer months is the sound of children’s voices really enjoying themselves!

Headmaster Tony Bishop running the school swimming sports 1993

The pool here measures 12m x 5m, and is 0.8 deep at the shallow end sloping to 1.2m at the deep end – large enough for school swimming lessons, and also for use by the community during non-school hours and holidays.

Our community pool

In 2011 our primary school in the village became a member of a co-operative Federation. After several years the managers considered closing the pool down altogether, but at this point the parish council stepped in to negotiate a lease; it is now run by the community rather than the school for the use of residents in the parish, or families who don’t live in the parish but whose children go to either the primary school or the Hive pre-school, and the school will still be able to use it for lessons as it always has during term time.

Funding it

After paying for the legal fees involved in setting up the 7 year lease, the parish council oversaw the initial repairs and improvements, principally to the filtration system and to the solar panels which provide heating to the water. This ensures that the pool is now much warmer than in previous years, regularly in the lower 20 degrees range, often much higher during heat waves, and is enough to keep it open for an extra month during part of the autumn term as well. However it’s an expensive business for a small parish council to cover annual running costs and maintenance, to replace outworn equipment, and fund our annual resuscitation courses – the pool must cover its own running costs, but we have found ourselves very dependant on other fund-raising to keep the pool up to date and in good and safe condition.

Everything painted, mended, serviced, cleaned, and ready to go – Spring 2016

Tony Porter generously gave a large proportion of the proceeds of the 2015 Classic Car Show to pay for an automatic dosing system which tests the water throughout the day, and administers the right amounts of pool chemicals to keep the pH levels correct and the water safe and clean.

There have been many other improvements as well, and necessary replacement of various bits of the original equipment that have reached the end of their days. The parish council has been very grateful for the very generous input from the Outdoor Swimming Society’s Bantham Swoosh fundraising swimmers who have enabled us to make these repairs, especially those requiring speedy attention during the season so that the pool doesn’t need to be out of use for any longer than strictly necessary.

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