Minutes of the Friends of Jesus Green Pool Meeting on 23 August 2017
1. Nicky Blanning welcomed everyone and thanked them for coming. Over 30 people attended. Some apologies had also been received.
2. Matters discussed:
a) this summer at the pool including: showers; hot water; cleaning; lifeguards; rules in general; activities for children; queuing and fast track access for season ticket holders (the whole entrance issue); money raised in Kevan Heydon’s memory; long term aims.
b) Showers and Cleaning – the overall opinion was that the men’s showers were warmer now, but had been terrible. Cleaning generally very mixed – in the showers and cubicles, and leaves in the pool, but the opinion was that the pool was under-staffed. Insufficient lifeguards, chatting close together, did not help.
c) Proliferation of rules – Some Members commented on being shouted at by lifeguards when apparently doing some misdemeanour or breaching a rule, combined with a feeling that there was not a good atmosphere, partly as a result of the inconsistency of the enforcement of rules. All of this has led to a more negative experience of coming to this lovely setting. Improved management necessary.
d) Children – there appear to be fewer children using the pool than in previous years, with no fun activities or floats allowed, and the swim test that has to be re-taken on every visit. A few Members felt that some children had been upset by the lifeguards’ approach. Clearly, some Members themselves have been affected by the lifeguards’ attitude, but others felt that the lifeguards were doing their best, given the low numbers of staff. Parents were not able to take photos of their own children, even if taken with extreme care and providing evidence to the lifeguards.
e) Watching visitors – Another key message was that elderly (and other) visitors to the pool were no longer allowed to come in and watch, or to have a cup of tea, without having to pay the full swim entry price (even when the pool is virtually empty).
f) Swifter Card Entry – a discussion was held regarding swifter card entry for season ticket holders and the view that Better and the City Council should be doing more to enable fast entry, and this might also encourage new people to buy season tickets. Better/ GLL apparently manage to organise faster card access at other outdoor centres. Use of contactless cards would help, as the taking of cash is incredibly slow.
g) Maintenance – Important request was to understand who is responsible for repairs and maintenance – Better or the City Council or both? Members want to know in order to get some appropriate action.
h) Half price season tickets – there used to be half price season tickets on offer at the start of the school holidays. This really helped many families to be able to afford to come regularly.
i) Lottery funding – and long term Strategic aims – Members all felt that there should be a longer term ambition for improving the pool’s facilities, especially with the 100 year anniversary approaching (5 years’ time). Members felt this would be key for a new Committee.
j) The Pump room – looks a mess, and what is going on? A suggestion that a café could be built above, being accessible to users of Jesus Green itself and the pool.
k) Accessibility – both Better and the City Council should do more to promote the accessibility of the pool with its hoist.
l) The Friends’ bank account – now has over £1000 in it, thanks to the generosity of friends and family of Kevan Heydon. A key wish for Kevan was to improve the speed of entry for season ticket holders, so this will become a priority for the new Committee.
3. Formation of new Committee to raise the Friends’ profile and to meet both Better/ GLL and the City Council on a regular basis. Interested parties were asked to raise their hands and to get in touch with Nicky. A meeting date would be organised soon. Any Member not wishing to join the Committee would still be welcome to attend meetings.
4. Any Other Business – there was none.
5. Date of next meeting to be advised.
Meeting held at The Potting Shed, Waterman PH