With help from Kirkby Foundation
The spring of this year was a difficult time for Helmsley Open Air Pool. Paul Goodwin, pool trustee comments, “Whilst everyone is facing unprecedented increases in energy bills, when you are a charity running an outdoor swimming pool with 350+ cubic metres of water to heat, increases in the price of energy are particularly acute.”
“The issue was further compounded by the decision of the trustees to cap the bather load by around a third. UK guidelines of 2m squared per swimmer, give Helmsley a bather load of circa 75 people – however following huge demand following the lifting of COVID restrictions in July 2021 it was evident that the pool’s 20th Century plant couldn’t cope with those levels, so capacity had to be reduced.”
The existing pool covers consisted of 4no. separate covers going across the pool, resulting in lots of gaps. The pool trustees felt they were also a manual handling risk, as they had to be moved across the pool apron twice a day, along with being a trip hazard. In the storms at the start of 2022 – two of them had ended up in the pool.
After Lifeguards, the pools biggest expense is heating the pool, this is done by an oil boiler and air source heat pump. The obvious solution to mitigate increasing energy costs and make the pool more environmentally sustainable was a new state of the art, one piece automated pool cover, however early indications were this would cost upwards of £20K.
The pool has links to the Kirkby Foundation, who advised on the satisfactory presentation of a business plan and financial accounts they would share half of the cost. The pool cover was ordered in May, there are only 2 manufacturers of these items, so will delays on leadtime the meant the cover was installed by Covers4Pools based in York on 21st & 22nd September. The cover looks fantastic as is so easy to operate – the de-cluttered look of the pool apron is another bonus
Since 17th September the pool has opened on Saturday morning’s on an unheated basis ‘Cool Pool’. It is testament to the amazing insulating properties of the new cover that the water temperature was still over 14C.
On Saturday 15th October Stuart and Janet Brown of the Kirkby foundation visited the pool to see the new pool cover in operation. Mr Brown said “the Kirkby Foundation were delighted to be helping the pool as they look to provide affordable outdoor swimming for all”. Mr & Mrs Brown met with pool trustees Chris Parkin and Paul Goodwin and chatted to swimmers participating in ‘cool pool’ including Jen a Channel Swimmer.
Helmsley’s heated season ran for over 100 days from 28th May to 11th September with over 16,000 swimmers using the pool including many Schools, Community Groups and Charities taking advantage of the two daily private hire sessions. The Pool received EU funding in 2018 to renew the pool tank, surround & fence, the trustees are looking at ways to upgrade the Pool Plant, Changing Rooms and use solar thermal energy to heat the pool. Helmsley Pool is run as a Community Interest Company on behalf of Helmsley Town Council and receives support from Ryedale District Council.
If you would could make use of the old pool covers or would like to volunteer at the pool please email firstname.lastname@example.org