School needs to splash the cash for pool

CHILDREN at a Felixstowe school are hoping cash will be splashed on a major refurbishment of their swimming pool - but parents and staff need to raise £75,000 first.

CHILDREN at a Felixstowe school are hoping cash will be splashed on a major refurbishment of their swimming pool - but their parents and staff need to raise £75,000 first.

A fundraising appeal has been launched at Colneis Junior to revamp the outdoor pool, which has not been used for the past three years after problems with its lining.

Poor weather also meant the 13m by six metre pool could not be used as much as planned, and since its closure it has been slipping into decay and disrepair.

But now the school has plans to bring it back into use by having it covered with a large enclosure, including new changing rooms and fibre-glass lining, for use all-year-round.

The aim would be to not just use it for pupils of Colneis to learn to swim, but also for other schools and for the community for groups and parents to hire for different activities.

Deputy head Ted Payne said: “We found with the weather that we were only using it for the last half of the summer term and then we had problems with the liner, and the changing rooms were not very nice.

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“It came to a point after we had not used it for about three years where we had to make a decision about what to do with it.

“With so many schools closing their pools and filling them in, we decided it was important we should keep ours, and with two rivers and the sea around us here in Felixstowe it is important for swimming to be part of the curriculum.”

Mr Payne said it had also become apparent that many more youngsters than previously at the school were now non-swimmers, suggesting parents were not also taking them for lessons.

A small team is leading the project, and has visited others schools to see their pools and how they have made a success of them, especially those encouraging community use.

Parent Brian Clark is leading the fundraising, which has so far generated £6,000 towards the £75,000 target.

“We are looking at various possible sources for grants and also looking at sponsorship but we accept we will have to raise a lot of the money ourselves,” he said.

“The aim is to hold a major event once a month and hopefully once we have a substantial fund some of the grant-giving agencies will help us to finish the campaign.”

Anyone able to help with fundraising events, or would like to discuss sponsorship or has advice about obtaining grants should contact Mr Clark on 01394 282304.

What do you think - should schools keep their pools or get rid of them? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk

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