With the Olympic Torch passing through the neighbouring cities of Southampton and Portsmouth this weekend, the whole nation looking forward to the Olympic Games and many also thinking about the legacy of those games, local campaigners in Botley are busy trying to save the swimming pool at the local Primary School…
No longer funded by Central or Local Government, the pool has [until recently] been managed and run by Botley Splash, a registered charity run by local volunteers with the aim of ensuring that swimming facilities remain available for the children of Botley School and the local community. Their objective has been to provide regular weekly swimming for all children attending Botley Primary School. To help raise the necessary funds, the pool has been available for private hire during the summer months.
But the future of the swimming pool at Botley School is currently in some doubt. Botley Splash are currently reporting on their Facebook page that;
Due to changes in Health and Safety guidelines, Splash can no longer continue in its current format, therefore the pool has now been returned to control of the school.
As schools are not funded to provide swimming facilities, the cost of operating the pool now has to be funded by other means, somehow filling the gap that has been left by Botley Splash.
The Friends of Botley School (FOBS), which is the Parent/Teacher Association for Botley School, are currently being asked to provide more than £13,400 of funding, to support school trips, provide extra books/equipment and some other important little extras. Funding the school pool would be an extra burden on FOBS.
So busy rasing funds to help keep the swimming pool open, and actively encouraging the school governors to do so, is Chris Pink, the proprietor of Hutfields Garage in Botley. Speaking to Eastleigh News, Chris said;
“The pool has been there a very long time [since 1970] and was installed, so I understand, as a response to children drowning in the local river. It is important that children learn how to swim. The pool needs to be kept open. Even if we only save one young life, it is worth doing.”
Chris has nominated the two registered charities that have supported Botley School, Botley Splash and FOBS, into the 2012 Kumho Causes promotion. The tyre manufacturer plans to distribute at least £100,000 to local causes around the UK and is inviting people to vote for the nominated causes to determine how the money is apportioned.
Although his plans have been disrupted by the news that Botley Splash is no longer continuing [n.b. that news was announced after Chris had nominated them] Chris is still keen that as many people as possible should vote to help the Friends of Botley School. A good share of the money that is being donated by Kumho could still be used by FOBS to help to keep the pool open.
You can vote for the Friends of Botley School by visiting the Hutfields page on the Kumho causes website.
Over the next couple of months, Chris will be donating £1 to the swimming pool fund for every Kumho tyre that is sold. Customers will also receive a voucher that will give money off their next purchase of Kumho tyres.
The Kumho causes is a national campaign, with good causes from across the country being nominated for a share of the £100,000. Hutfields is the only Kumho Retailer in the Borough of Eastleigh to have nominated local causes for a share of this money.
Eastleigh News asked Botley Parish Councillor, Borough Councillor, County Councillor and Mayor of Eastleigh, Cllr Rupert Kyrle for a comment on this campaign to help Botley school and save the swimming pool. Despite his busy schedule, Cllr Kyrle has kindly replied and says;
I am of course very happy to support the Friends of Botley School campaign, Splash, to keep the swimming pool at Botley School open next year. I am also happy to support any initiative that promotes an active lifestyle which also promotes peoples health and wellbeing within our communities.
I also commend any businesses within our borough that assist with these kinds of initiatives and of course Hutfields of Botley are a good example of this. I congratulate them on their efforts and community spirit.