Skyrocketing bills are threatening to jeopardise a long-running campaign to bring Knowle’s much-loved Jubilee Pool into community ownership.
A deal struck earlier this year was thought to have secured the future of the art deco gym and swimming facility by putting the running of it in the hands of a dedicated group of volunteers, who devised a plan to make it viable.
But with less than two weeks to go before the Jubilee Road venue is set to become the first community-owned and managed pool in Bristol, those leading the project are now facing the prospect of raising £20,000 to £30,000 by the end of the year just to cover the costs until April.
It comes after the operator set to take over running the facility pulled out due to the utility bill crisis that saw it looking at an additional £120,000 to £330,000 uplift in annual costs.
Existing operator Parkwood has agreed to remain in post but the volunteer-run Friends of Jubilee Pool (FoJP) have been forced to issue a renewed appeal for support to raise the funds needed to meet the increased costs.
FoJP chair Jules Laming explains: “We are still on course for taking Jubilee Pool into community ownership at midnight on September 30. The Parkwood offer is a lifeline and we are really pleased to be working with them moving forward, but the reality is that we are looking at a very sizable unforeseen deficit to keep the pool going in the midst of the energy crisis.
“While we have funds in place to see us through the first three months of the contract, we will need to fundraise like crazy to raise another £20,000 to £30,000 by the end of December to cover the January to April costs.
“As a consequence, we are asking the community and potential sponsors again – is there the commitment and the money to keep this dream alive? Because without them we cannot guarantee Jubilee Pool’s future.”
The latest blow follows numerous threats to close the pool that has been a part of the community for 85 years, with owners Bristol City Council citing increasing running costs as a key reason.
Find out more and support the fundraising campaign via: www.localgiving.org/charity/friends-of-jubilee-pool-bristol/.
Main photo: Ellie Pipe
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