Tag Archives: Swimming Clubs

110 Swimmers take the plunge!

After a hugely successful gathering of swimmers and pool supporters for a unique photo shoot, Attilio is now set to unveil his work to the world this Thursday.

In a truly humbling display of just how well loved our local pool is, photographer Attilio Fiumarella and the gang over at Some Cities succeeded in getting 110 swimmers together to stand in the empty Gala Pool in their swimming costumes on a sunny Sunday morning to show their love for the building – and dismay at its proposed closure.

The shoot was a massive boost to the campaign against the proposed closure of the building – earmarked for September next year.  There was such a fantastic, good natured atmosphere – it was so lovely to see so many pool users coming together.  Attilio captured a real cross section of the community who gather at the pool each week.  The event really illustrated what a diverse bunch we are – babies and toddlers lined up next to pensioners, keen lane swimmers next to ‘Strokes’ pupils, club swimmers alongside the Aquarobics devotees and members of the Friends of Moseley Road Baths next to pool staff.  That unique community is what we stand to lose if the pool closes.

The powerful images from the photo shoot were picked up by local news outlets, and soon the story grew to become the third most read story on the BBC News site, it was covered in the Daily Mail and we even gained coverage of our ‘Warrior Spirit’ as far away as Scotland!  Twitter went wild with the #100swimmers hashtag, and we even got a Tweet from Jeremy Vine!

Thanks to everyone who helped to spread the word and who shared their images and thoughts on the day.  Esther Barnes documented the shoot and has produced some lovely images.  Matthew Walters was one of the ‘Terracotta Army’ who took advantage of the event to take some gorgeous shots of around the building.  Proof as ever that this building continues to inspire.

Attilio’s image from the photo shoot will be unveiled this Thursday July 31st, from 6.30pm, at The Old Print Works, over the road from the baths – and all are welcome – whether you participated, spread the love online or only saw the story in the press.  Attilio will be there to answer questions about the project.

IMG_4169The Friends of Moseley Road Baths want to extend a huge thank you to Attilio for his vision and talent in bringing the project about, the team at Some Cities for supporting such an ambitious and exciting project, Ian Edwards (pictured above with his loudspeaker!) for his expert direction of the swimmers, to the crew who were running round supporting Attilio, to all of the swimmers who gave up their morning to stand around in an empty pool, and of course, thanks are also due to the pool staff for accommodating the event.

Timetable now online

We have just posted up a new page with the most recent timetable for the Baths. Please note that this is correct as of today’s date but it is subject to change and we urge you to contact the pool directly on 0121 464 0150 to check for any changes. Timetables are also available from the pool along with details on how to register for a Passport to Leisure card if you qualify for cheaper swims, and direct debit options if you are a regular user of the pool.

MRB swim timetable

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

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!