Published: 06:00, 25 March 2021
Bosses of one of Kent's best-loved swimming pools are hoping to give the venue a major refurbishment - beginning with installing an overhead canopy to protect youngsters from the sun.
Dubbed Swale’s most popular attraction, Faversham Pools attracts almost a quarter of a million admissions in a normal year.
It has fought to stay afloat during the pandemic but has battled through largely thanks to receiving scores of donations.
Focus has now mainly shifted towards reopening, yet irons are in the fire to revamp the site.
The centre - which is a registered charity - lodged a bid for £10,000 worth of funding from Swale Borough Council to help pay for an outdoor ‘shade sail’.
The canopy is planned to cover the paddling pool used by toddlers and young children - protecting them from the sun on hot days and blocking any adverse weather.
The pitch put forward by the charity states: “Beneficiaries of this shade sail will be the tens of thousands of children who swim with us every summer.
“The youngest members of our community have missed a year’s worth of experiences, including enjoying being and developing confidence in the water.
“This purchase will help us to encourage the very youngest in our community to start to become comfortable with swimming, instilling a life-long love of the activity which is essential in a community with such a strong nautical heritage.”
Despite the bid for cash, the centre was unsuccessful in receiving backing from the council’s area committee fund.
But charity chairman Michael Ellsmore - who stepped into the role last November - remains optimistic about the future of the pools.
“We bid for various funding and we can come up with other ways of tackling it, so this doesn’t mean that plan is over,” he said.
“Although the area committee is SBC and we didn’t get the money, we can’t speak highly enough of the council as they’ve helped us out a lot.
“Last week’s refusal is just part and parcel of the journey. The main focus is on reopening but in the future we want to do some major refurbishments.
“We want to make it feel a bit a different so we’re rebranding.
“The pools are looking a little bit tired in parts as they were built 25 to 30 years ago. So we’d love to have big work done.
“But planning years ahead is fraught with difficulties at the moment.
“The support we’ve had has been great during the pandemic, and we’ve also just had an anonymous donor for £1,000 which was very nice.”
The main indoor pool is expected to reopen on April 12 but a date for the outdoor pools has not yet been confirmed.