Friday, 10 May 2013

Rome of the North

Roman baths

Well they say Rome wasn't built in a day... Well, don't tell anyone, but I think I know why... !

Its been three months since the decision was taken in Chamber that the City of Edinburgh Council would work in partnership with us, on the feasibility of the business case we submitted for their consideration.  Whilst we believe that our figures stacked up, there was no doubt that we had to test some of our assumptions and undertake some development of our ideas and plans.  However what really swung it that day in Chamber was that finally the Councillors realised the social case for a leisure pool - both for those living locally in Leith, but also for children and disabled people who were ill-served by other pools and who loved the flumes, chutes and the opportunity to spend some good fun quality family time together. 

"We own it to the community to give this a go" and "We could do something special here" were just two sentences spoken by Councillors that day as they debated whether to take the leap of faith.  We glad that they did, and have since set out to work with us in co-operation.  There is no doubt that this process is quite new for us and them, and throughout the three months we have been feeling our way through a process, which to be fair is a wee bit slower than our normal speed of operating, as campaigners.

That said we have made a massive amount of progress together.  We have established a working group of Councillors, Splashback and officials to take the work forward.  We are meeting fortnightly (at 8am to allow us to fit it in with our work and family commitments!) to discuss how we progress our vision of a community led venture, providing a hub of activity at the foot of Leith Walk.

We have:
  • Devised a structure that allows us to work on the various workstreams we need to develop: legal and governance, fiance, fundraising, marketing, pool operations, 'dry' operations and site development. 
  • Applied to become a SCIO (Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation), who will take on the feasibility phase and hopefully the running of the facility
  • Engaged with a broad range of experts - from engineers, design companies, voluntary organisations, community sports companies - to discuss ideas and possibilities.
  • Compiled a fundraising plan and are actively speaking to funders whose aims and values match ours. 
  • Applied for a development grant to engage a dedicated Development Manager/s, who will assist us as we build capacity within the organisation
  • Developed a brief and are tendering for design and engineering works, scoping out what is possible and associated costs
  • Continued to meet weekly as a campaign group to discuss our progress.
We do so, with the continued awareness that the needs of toddlers, young families, the disabled and the economically disadvantaged are currently ill-supplied by pools in Edinburgh, since the closure of the much loved Waterworld.  And we continue to press for remedying this through the provision of adequate and affordable swimming facilities, suitable for ALL members of our community.

So apologies for the radio silence on the blog as of late...  Co-operation takes time! But, as we know Rome wasn't built in a day.

But boy, did it look good once they got there!!

Please do keep in touch, via the blog and our more regularly updated Twitter feed... More coming soon...


  1. i absolutely love what you guys are doing - very proud of you all! If there is anything I can do to help - please let me know. :-)

  2. Keep up the good work, will visit even if we move out of Leith and Edinburgh! Good luck. Took our kids and also a disabled service user, it was a joy to see them thrive their, could see disappointment when they went to boring and cold rectangular pools with much less fun involved sadly. Much needed in Edinburgh.

  3. Keep up the good work! You have so much support from the community! We miss Leith Waterworld and can't wait to see it brought back again as a vital local resource!

  4. Really miss Waterworld, especially now my daughter has reached an age to really enjoy the facilities there (I took her as a baby just before it closed). Look forward to it opening in the not too distant future (we hope)! Keep up the good work.

  5. This will be a fabulous facility for the people of Leith and elsewhere. Hopefully the local nurseries may be able to have swimming lessons again which we have missed since Dr Bell's teaching pool closed. So keep up the good work and all the best.