Winter pool overhaul aims to improve summer swimming

PUBLISHED: 06:32 11 February 2018

Volunteers Andy Thatcher and Jim Bougnague putting together the new lockers. Picture: Kay Cornwell

Volunteers Andy Thatcher and Jim Bougnague putting together the new lockers. Picture: Kay Cornwell

Kay Cornwell

Portishead’s outdoor pool may be closed to swimmers at the moment, but volunteers are working hard behind the scenes to make sure the summer season is a great one.

A major revamp of the pool and its plant room took place last year, but attention this winter has focussed on sprucing up the indoor facilities.

The changing rooms are being transformed, with more efficient showers, a re-tiled entrance plus new toilets and lockers set to improve the facilities for swimmers.

To make the changes possible however, lots of volunteers have spent their free time and weekends carrying out maintenance tasks.

A number of cold-water swims have been held over the winter, but the improvements will be clear for all to see when the summer season – when the pool is heated to a more pleasant 28C – begins on April 21.

Although the summer reopening is still a couple of months away, the lido’s café remains open for business.

It opened in 2016 following The Radical Burger Company’s closure and its first two years have proved to be highly successful.

Trustee Rachel Manning said: “The café is currently open from Friday to Sunday, but we will be extending our opening hours from Easter.

“Our regulars will know we now have a volunteer chef which means we can increase our range of cooked food including seasonal and chef’s specials – in February the theme is The Great British Potato.

“We are also continuing our very popular afternoon tea, which can be booked in advance.”

The café relies heavily on help from volunteers and any extra help would be gratefully received.

Volunteer Barbara Thatcher said: “As always though, we need lots of volunteers to help keep this wonderful community facility running.

“So if you can spare a few hours for an occasional or regular shift in the café, tuck shop or reception please contact us on”

The lido does employ students and provides work experience opportunities, including for young people and adults who have special needs.

In the spring, catering students from Poland will be working at the site as part of the ERASMUS exchange scheme.

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