Shoalstone Pool - Credit: Chris Slack

Shoalstone still making a splash as plans for long-term future take shape

Shoalstone still making a splash as plans for long-term future take shape

Joseph Bulmer

Brixham's Shoalstone Pool is still making a splash - and long may it continue.

Outdoor leisure pursuits were only for the rich and famous until social change came about in the 1920’s and for the first time men and women could mix freely and enjoy outdoor healthy pursuits. Lidos and open-air sea pools became hugely popular.
Shoalstone Seawater Pool is perched between Brixham and Berry Head and is one of the few remaining Seawater Pools in the country.

It is built into a natural rock pool and has been used for bathing since the Victorian era. Fed by the tides, it offers 53m of safe seasonal swimming.  Generations of local Brixham families have learnt to swim here and visitors delight in this unique gem of Brixham.
However, the heyday of alfresco dipping, flaunting and flirting was short-lived, wars came, package holidays sprouted and under- investment ruled the day. Our glorious coastal pools were left to crumble.
Time and again the Brixham community worked together to keep their pool open – campaigning, petitioning, painting and repairing the structure.

In 2014, threatened by closure again, due to lack of local authority funds and willpower, the responsibility for Shoalstone Seawater Pool was taken over by the local people. They fought hard to keep it and blocked plans to let the pool return to the sea and develop the site.
Year after year an enormous amount of local goodwill, fund raising and basic voluntary hard work has kept this Heritage site open and finally, this year, Shoalstone Seawater Pool has officially gained charity status.

The voluntary management team continue to focus on both maintaining and improving the current facility and explore ways in which to make it more sustainable for years to come.
Dave Barter, Volunteer Operations Director said: “So far this winter has been kind to the pool and we have suffered little damage from the storms and wind.

"However, we have a number of areas that still need attention and we are close to finishing a set of urgent repairs. This involves stripping render and concrete from the pool wall interior and replacing it with reinforcing steel in a number of areas.

"The programme will run for four weeks and allow us to get the pool open for May. We had hoped to strip and repaint the pool interior as part of these works. However, we just do not have the budget to carry this out at present and will defer it pending additional fundraising activities.
"We’ve commissioned a second stage civil engineering study of the pool focused upon issues around the north western corner. This will build upon survey work previously completed and allow us to fill in our information gaps and plan for a major project to sustain the pool’s future for many years to come”.
The constant financial needs for structural maintenance and day to day running, puts pressure on the fundraising team.

New charity status will enable us to encourage people to join and also renew their Friends of Shoalstone status and donations will enable us to claim Gift Aid returns which will make a huge difference to our bottom line
An immediate need at this time of the year is for lifeguards.

We are starting the process of recruiting process for our team for the coming season. If you are interested in becoming a lifeguard at Shoalstone Seawater Pool please do get in touch for further details. We are particularly interested in hearing from those who would be available out of the main summer season, so we can continue to increase the number of events and activities at the pool throughout the year. Contact us at: info@shoalstoneopool.com
See www.shoalstonepool.com for more information

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