The campaign to save the Arthur Hill swimming pool has been so successful at reaching its £10,000 target that they have decided to reach for an extra £2,000 to allow essential repair work to begin.
The campaign to save the pool was started by local campaigners in September. They had hoped to raise £10,000 by the end of this year, but public support was so strong that they have already met that target and are now aiming for a further £2,000 so they can start work on repairing damaged concrete in the building.
The swimming pool, at Cemetery Junction, was finally closed by Reading Borough Council (RBC) on 18 December to save money. They are the nearest swimming baths to the top of Katesgrove Hill.
RBC will decide if the pool can be reopened with a new service provider as part of a ‘community right to challenge’ in April 2017.
“Arthur Hill Baths is a community asset that must not be lost,” said campaign spokesperson Phil Vaughan. “It is deplorable that the councillors of the wards affected, except the three Green councillors of Park Ward, do not stand up for their residents.”
He added that the community wanted to run the pool until the proposed replacement is completed in an estimated four years’ time. Money would be raised through corporate and individual sponsorship, grants and donations.
“We have been amazed at the support we received for our appeal, and are very grateful to everyone who helped,” he said. “There have been some astonishingly generous donations [including] £500 from an anonymous donor and £5 from a local homeless man who learnt to swim at Arthur Hill.”