Category Archives: Swimming Groups

A few reactions to recent news…

Thanks so much for all your supportive comments in response to the reopening of the Baths being delayed once again. We thought that it was appropriate to share some of your thoughts – please do keep them coming via e-mail or using the comments section below. We know full well how passionate you all are about the building and swimming, but feel it’s important that we convey this to others as well. So, here are a selection of your comments:

  • This seems to be poor management again. Is it deliberate incompetence?  Perhaps officers should be personally liable for the results of ongoing neglect of this important building.
  • Perhaps ‘they’ should have the lost revenue from the Baths being closed stopped from their salaries
  • Sad to see the reopening date keeps going back (now April/May).  It’s as though any excuse (now flaking paint) to delay opening.
  • Councillor Kennedy asks does the pool sit as a sport or heritage site – I say it must sit as both.  Keep up the pressure on them. This building must not be allowed to close as a pool.
  • Labour Councillors want us to believe that lead paint was being used in 2004?  They must think we’re mugs!
  • Anyone fancy a sweepstake on next excuse for not opening the Moseley Rd baths. My moneys on a blown light bulb in reception.
  • Hmm, did they confirm which year? Let’s hope it’s 2012. This family needs to swim.
  • Thanks also to Moseley Shoals who sent us an e-mail outlining the impact the closure has had on their swimming club, making it nigh on impossible to swim as a club.

Of course, using this blog is nowhere near as effective as the public contacting the press and Councillors directly – follow this link for details of Councillors.  Hall Green Constituency Councillors will be voting on the options in March, so please address e-mails to them.  Cllr Tony Kennedy chairs the group and Cllr Martin Mullaney is the current Cabinet Member for Leisure, Sport and Culture.

“We Want To Swim” Demo

As the six-week school summer holidays got underway a group of frustrated parents and children descended on Moseley Road Baths in Balsall Heath to complain about the ongoing closure of their favourite pool.

Summer holiday 'non-swim'

The Baths shut for essential repairs at Christmas for what Birmingham City Council initially claimed would be just six weeks, but more than six months later there’s still no sign of the building reopening, with the Council acknowledging that it will take another nine weeks for additional maintenance work to be carried out, leaving locals without a public pool, a situation exacerbated by the long-term closure of nearby Sparkhill Baths.

Around twenty Moseley Road Baths regulars attended Monday’s demonstration, organised by the Friends of Moseley Road Baths group. Jenny Wale, who came along with her daughters Millie (aged 9) and Sadie (11) said: “My children have nowhere to swim locally and because of the closure we have to drive several miles to our nearest pool. They’re missing out on something they love.”

Summer holiday 'non-swim'

David Pratt from Moseley Shoals swimming club was another demonstrator: “We are currently using Small Heath Leisure Centre to swim but we’d love to have our local baths back operating again.” The club have also tried using Cocks Moors Woods Leisure Centre at Alcester Lanes End but found it unsuitable for their requirements, being more of a leisure pool.

Friends’ Secretary Rachel Gillies remarked: “The school holidays have just begun, the weather’s been getting warmer and local children are desperate to come and swim at their local pool. It’s crucial that the remaining building and maintenance work starts as soon as possible so that this valuable and well-loved community facility can re-open and be enjoyed by all.”

Although work to replace the lintel above a door in the swimming pool (the initial reason for the pool’s closure) has now been completed, Birmingham City Council’s Urban Design team are insisting on the replacement of temporary scaffolding in the basement, while an asbestos survey of this area must also be carried out. Negotiations between contractors and the Council over the costs and details of this work have been ongoing for several weeks. On Monday, Councillor Martin Mullaney, Chairman of Leisure, Sport and Culture, stated that it would be late September at the earliest before Moseley Road Baths re-opened.

For more information or additional comment, please contact Jen Austin, Friends of Moseley Road Baths: 0121 440 5794/07521 734 022

Friends of Moseley Road Baths

July 25th 2011

Moseley Shoals statement

We’ve been in touch with many people inquiring when Moseley Road Baths will reopen, really highlighting to us the need for it to open as soon as possible. Moseley Shoals have been using the Pool for group swim sessions for years, and have put their case to the Council as part of the ‘Business Case’ for the work on the pool to be commenced. I’ve copied in their statement here.

STATEMENT IN SUPPORT OF BUSINESS CASE – MOSELEY ROAD POOL

Moseley Shoals Swim Club (based at Moseley Road Pool)

We are a community swimming club, dedicated to lesbian, gay and bisexual swimmers. We formed at Moseley Road Pool in 2000, and we have hired the pool as a group for ten years. We are the largest local LGB sporting and social group in the Midlands, and one of only a few similar national groups. We have steadily built our group to achieve national and international recognition. We have developed coaching sessions and water polo at Moseley Road.

We have been able to build our club at Moseley Road Pool, through support from the local LGBT Community Trust and the pool staff and managers. We have developed sufficiently to hire the pool three times a week and organise a considerable social element to our club. We would be unlikely to be able to book these sessions at any other local pool at suitable times. In 2005 we were forced to move to Sparkhill Pool, and this disruption lost us members, which took us over two years to recover. We are already facing competition from private leisure sites and the need to charge full price to our members when public swimming is free.

We are self funding and contribute circa £1,000 every two months to the city leisure department. We have been acknowledged by the Birmingham LGBT Trust as a major provider of sporting and exercise opportunities to a marginalised group, facing discrimination and difficulty in accessing mainstream provision. We were given support by the Sports Council to further promote our club.

Our next marketing campaign is currently on hold. We have been unable to compete in a European swim gala this Spring, due to uncertainty over coaching sessions, which we have needed to cancel. Our members are unable to swim in a proper fashion, underlined by a disastrous trip to Cocks Moors Woods Leisure Centre, where despite being promised proper swimming provision, we were restricted to half a “fun” pool. Birmingham Leisure Department is losing our considerable hire fees, and losing visitors to the city. A quarter of our members visit from neighbouring districts, and spend money afterwards in the local economy on food, drinks and shopping.

We would be grateful for repairs to be completed swiftly and to a timetable which allows us to limit damage to our club, and to remain major supporters of community swimming and equal opportunities for city and neighbouring residents.

Mark Hillier
For Moseley Shoals Swim Club

13 January 2011

Petition for more Women Only swim sessions

You can now sign an online petition to request that Birmingham City Council increase women only provision at Swimming Pools across the city.

The Facebook Group is also a good place to chat about the issue. One comment in particular highlights the problem with the current timetables:

Tired and fed up i wrote to my MP back in January 2010. He wrote to the head of Sports and Events at Birmingham City Council in order to enquire further. The reply I got was a list of women’s only swimming / gym sessions….along with appreciat…ion that my issue had highlighted the birmingham website needed amendment to it to include ‘women only’ session. The website has slightly altered, but this does not change the fact that the demand is still there and NOTHING has been done about it!! Cocksmoor and Erdington can’t even guarantee female lifeguards….Small heath – u have to get there an hour before the swim starts in order to get a ticket, and unfortuantely they have no capacity to increase the women’s classes! Not a happy bunny : (

More women only swimming sessions needed

For a long time our group has discussed the need for more swimming provision at Moseley Road Baths in order to meet demand.  My own experience of working at the pool was that many people were frustrated that so many sessions were shared use (lane swimming and kids’ Strokes lessons, or public swims during school sessions).  It’s clear that both pools need to be opened in order to meet demand.

One group of users in particular regularly find themselves queuing to use the pool.  Many women across the city come to Moseley Road Baths for the Women Only swimming sessions.  The reasons for attending these sessions are as varied as the women who attend – modesty, cultural reasons, self-consciousness, a space to socialise with other women – to name but a few reasons.  It is apparent that these sessions are needed, and for many women and girls, it can mean the difference between regularly swimming or not doing any exercise at all.  As such, these sessions need to be encouraged throughout the city.

Moseley Road Baths are popular as the pool doors can be closed to the general public, and the cubicles around the side of the pool make the walk from changing to swimming so short.  However, the current timetable cannot meet the demand and many sessions are too busy.  The sessions are also held in the evening, excluding many women and girls who would prefer to use the pool earlier in the day – particularly important for women with children.  Some swimmers also prefer female lifeguards, which cannot always be guaranteed.

In response to this a Facebook Group has been set up, requesting more Women Only swim sessions throughout Birmingham to meet demand.  If you use Facebook then get involved in the discussion here. We would also invite people who feel passionately about the need for more Women Only swim sessions to add a comment on this blogpost, or e-mail us with your comments.  This all helps the Friends of Moseley Road Baths to make the case for two fully functioning community pools!

Online Sparkhill Consultation

Further to last week’s consultation events, there is now an online survey on facilities at Sparkhill Pool and Fitness Centre. You can take the online survey here.

It’s very disappointing that the public seem to have no say in who should manage the facility, especially as this will have an impact on one of the most important assets that local leisure services have: the staff.  I spoke with a local council leisure employee only yesterday who doesn’t know whether or not they’ll be in a job in two months time.  If the Council are serious about providing high quality health and fitness facilities they need to put such concerns at the heart of the plans.  This narrow-minded approach certainly doesn’t bode well for developing other leisure sites around the city…

Moseley Voles

For several years Friends of Moseley Road Baths have been trying to highlight to local decision makers that providing high quality swimming facilities is crucial to meet the needs of local residents.  This goes beyond basic health and fitness; swimming is a fantastic activity for forming new friendships, building confidence and decreasing stress and anxiety.

This has been recognised by Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust, who have funded a weekly swim session exclusively for service users, carers or staff.  Organised by User Voice and the Positive Mental Health Group the main aim of the sessions is to offer a pleasant and stress free atmosphere for mental health users (and carers / staff) to swim to relax and get some exercise.  It is ideal for people who are nervous or body conscious.

The sessions are funded until 31st March.  Fingers crossed that the funding can be extended!  Full details of the sessions are below.  Please contact Robin directly with questions and queries.

‘Moseley Voles’, a free weekly swimming group for mental health service users, carers and friends, has been meeting on Sundays for over three years. Organised by User Voice and the Positive Mental Health Group, it provides opportunities for social inclusion and exercise at the small historic Moseley Road Baths in Balsall Heath.

“Splashing around in the pool is good fun even if you can’t swim, and is a great way to exercise and relax” explains Robin Shepherd, one of the group’s organisers; “We’re a small, friendly bunch and have our own exclusive use of the pool from 1.30 to 2.30. Some people even stay on afterwards for free samosas and coffee.”

Trying something new can be challenging but with the Moseley Voles it’s easy – you don’t have to be a member, just turn up, and there will always be some familiar faces. Newcomers are greeted by Robin or a colleague and friends and carers are just as welcome. Some people don’t even swim, preferring to relax and chat with friends.

Help us make an even bigger splash!

“We know that many more people would enjoy Moseley Voles and it’s a shame they don’t know about it”. Robin can supply posters and leaflets for GP surgeries, libraries, community centres – and what about your work notice board? Better still, if you’re a carer or friend you can help by bringing someone along. As Robin explains “everyone needs encouragement at times and accompanying a user can make all the difference.”

So whether you want to train for the London Olympics or just dip your toe in the water, take the first step by calling Robin on 0121 685 7127 for all the information you need – and see you there soon!

Moseley Shoals

Founded in April 2000 the Gay Swim Group, Moseley Shoals, has gone from strength to strength and is now one of the biggest gay sports clubs in the UK.  As well a providing a space to ‘splash and chat’, the exclusively LGB club is open to swimmers of all abilities and offers the opportunity for swim coaching and competition standard swimming.

Affiliated to the Gay Outdoor Club and supported by Birmingham Pride they ensure that there are plenty of opportunities to socialise as well as swim, with the chance to head to the pub after sessions, as well as the occasional BBQ, picnic and even holiday.

The group began when staff at Moseley Road Baths encouraged the group to hire the pool for swim sessions.  Staff also encouraged two of the group to take the lifeguard course and qualify.  They are celebrating their tenth anniversary in Hamburg this year (where a previous member now lives and has joined their local LGB Swim Group – who are hosting a swim tournament).  In the past ten years they have attracted members from all over the Midlands, and the world.

Recently the group have linked up with the SHOUT festival which has helped with some Sport England money to introduce coaching on the first Wednesday of the month and water polo on the other Wednesdays.  This has been made possible with the support of the Birmingham LGBT Community Trust.  Please contact the Baths in advance on 0121 464 0150 to check that these sessions are taking place.

They currently hold three swim sessions a week at Moseley Road Baths.  These are:

Sundays: 12:30-1:30pm

Mondays and Wednesdays: 8:00-9:00pm

Sessions cost £4.00, and swimmers of all abilities are welcome, although non-swimmers should check that there is a coach available before their visit.

For more information see the Moseley Shoals website at www.moseleyshoals.org.uk

If your swimming group meets, or used to meet at Moseley Road Baths please get in touch, we want to hear from you!