Cleveland Pools’ volunteers triumph!

Behind the efforts of the Cleveland Pools Trust to reopen the Uk’s oldest public outdoor swimming pool in Bath are the efforts of its volunteers..

So it’s fitting to announce that this historic lido’s Volunteer team has won ‘Volunteers of the Year’ at the Museums and Heritage Awards. The award was presented to the team last night during a ceremony in London at the annual event that celebrates exceptional achievements in the heritage sector.

L to R Iszi Lawrence (Presenter of Making History on Radio 4); Alice Le Page (Learning and Engagement Trustee for Cleveland Pools); and Sam Grief (Community Engagement and Volunteer Officer for Cleveland Pools Trust).

The award comes as an acknowledgement of the dedication of the Cleveland Pools volunteer group in recent times. Despite challenging circumstances, the large-scale team numbering more than 125 people, responded to the challenges of the pandemic with reduced site access, connected virtually, met outdoors, and developed creative ways to involve local people.

The judges praised the staff and volunteer teams who engaged a range of community groups, reaching out to many who would otherwise have been isolated, including those in care homes and youth groups.

In their appraisal, the Museums and Heritage award judges commented:

‘This large-scale, cross-generational group of volunteers successfully reached diverse members of the wider community, managing to bring the joy of the pools to a much wider audience’.

Alice Le Page, Learning and Engagement Trustee, Cleveland Pools Trust, said:

‘Volunteers are the heart of the Cleveland Pools, a lifeline of energy running through our organisation, and this award is further testament to their incredible dedication. We are so proud the volunteer team has been recognised with such a prestigious award. Thank you to everyone who has given their time and knowledge to the Pools.’

Cleveland Pools is the UK’s oldest public outdoor swimming pool. Built in 1815, the site first opened as a river-fed pool, and subsequently enjoyed a colourful history through the Victorian era to its heyday in the 1970s until Cleveland Pools eventually closed to swimming in 1984.

For a short time, it was used as a trout farm, but it was threatened with demolition as an alternative to repair. In 2003, the owner, Bath and Northeast Somerset council, put the site up for sale, and it was added to the English Heritage Buildings at Risk Register.

Thanks to the determination of a group of local people, the Cleveland Pools Trust (CPT) was formed in 2004 to rescue the pools from dilapidation. In 2006 its listed building status was raised from II to II*.

Thousands of supporters from far and wide have joined the campaign to date and today the CPT has a diverse team of more than 100 volunteers who give their time freely: fundraising, engaging with the community, managing heritage assets, organising events and publicising progress.

The Cleveland Pools renovation is supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund. Restoration work is due to complete in the summer of 2022.

For more information on the restoration of Cleveland Pools visit:

https://www.clevelandpools.org.uk/restoration