We’re still smiling after a well supported and positive event last Saturday, 31st August, which saw swimmers and supporters share their ideas for how we could use the Gala Pool, a decade after it closed for swimming. People are anxious to get involved in the campaign and upset that Moseley Road Baths may lay empty within 18 months.
It was particularly nice to open up the Gala Pool to visitors. Kids’ eyes just light up when they see the Gala Pool. They find the space magical – its size, its acoustics, its grandeur. Members of the group were fielding lots of questions, which really highlighted the potential to open the building as a heritage centre.
We got some great press coverage, with a piece on Midlands Today and articles at the BBC website and Birmingham Mail. Pete Cole from The Balsall Heathan also joined us – thanks so much for the use of his lovely photos featured here!
Ideas for the Gala Pool ranged from the sensible to the sublime. My particular favourite was the idea for Surfboarding. The idea for the pool to be adapted for use as a space for therapy and rehabilitation showed how pools can meet the needs of quite specific groups. There was also an idea which we have raised before – make the building more efficient through the use of a Combined Heat and Power project to capture excess heat for neighbouring buildings. Visitors were also inspired by the currently empty Slipper Baths, which one person thought would be ideal for health and beauty treatments. What a way to relax looking at the stained glass!
Click on the thumbnails below to read some of the ideas!
The event highlighted once again the imagination of local residents – a huge contrast to the attitude of the Council who appear reluctant even to market the building as a swimming facility. The consultation as part of the HLF application encapsulated the eagerness of local residents and organisations to gain greater access to the space. Schools, colleges, community groups and health workers all see the potential of the space – hundreds of people responded to the consultation which has since been gathering dust.
The Friends of Moseley Road Baths are now pushing for the HLF Bid to be resubmitted to prevent the closure of the building, which the Council anticipate will happen before March 2015.