St Andrews paddling pool in north Bristol has been transformed into a “wishing pool” in the hope of keeping it open in the face of council funding cuts. Children, parents and grandparents have been attaching their happy memories of Bristol’s only public paddling pool to its railings - as well as their wishes for its future.
The pool, which is currently fenced off to prevent damage to its recently resurfaced interior, is due to reopen for summer next weekend (April 29).
However, planned cuts of £450,000 to Bristol’s annual parks budget, have raised concerns that its opening hours will be restricted – and it may not open at all on busy weekends.
The council has said that it will open as normal next weekend, but that the situation will be reviewed at the end of May.
The proposed cuts have left many parents worried that St Andrews paddling pool, which is used by families from across Bristol, may eventually close or see its opening restricted – particularly on busy, sunny weekends when it needs regular emptying and refilling for hygiene reasons.
Local mums, Linda Geddes and Simone Van Dop, came up with the wishing pool idea as a way of raising awareness about the pool’s plight, and demonstrating just how valuable it is to families across Bristol.
One message tied to the pool railings reads: “We come here because we cannot afford swimming lessons at Horfield pool. It builds their confidence in the water. Please don’t take it away.”
Another reads: “I could cry at the thought of the pool closing. My grandchildren love it. And [for] people with not much money, this is a lovely, free way to paddle.”
Alternative ways of funding Bristol’s parks are due to be discussed at Bristol City Council’s Neighbourhood Scrutiny meeting on Monday 24th April.
- corporate sponsorship
- charging for toilets
- charging for car park use
- renting public space out for events
The goal is for Bristol’s Parks Service to operate on a ‘cost neutral’ basis by 2020.