Lifeguard volunteers appeal to open pool for whole season
A RECRUITMENT drive has been launched for volunteer lifeguards in a bid to see Torbay's only open-air pool reopen for the full season.
Shoalstone Pool in Brixham is doomed to stay shut to the public unless money can be found to pay for lifeguards.
Torbay Council said the much-loved seawater pool could only open for six weeks during the school summer break rather than the normal 16 weeks.
A campaign is mounting in the port to raise money to get the pool open earlier.
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Now the council is calling on local residents, who hold a current National Pool Lifeguard qualification to volunteer at Shoalstone Pool and make it possible.
Cllr Jeanette Richards, executive lead for tourism and environment, said: "We are currently facing unprecedented budget pressures and as a result we are only able to fund the pool for six weeks over the peak summer season.
"We want to see the pool open for longer and have been exploring all options, this includes looking for qualified lifeguards who are willing to give up their time, for free, to provide what is a compulsory safety requirement and allow the pool to open sooner.
"To comply with safety requirements, we must have at least three lifeguards on duty at any time so we would need to find at least eight to ten lifeguards who are able to commit to shifts, starting as soon as possible until September."
The Friends of Shoalstone Pool group has been busy painting and cleaning and revamping the pool so it is ready for the season.
Fishermen have donated £1,000 towards the work and residents and traders have donated time and paint with restaurateur Mitch Tonks also pledging his support.
Mark Portwood, chairman of the Friends of Shoalstone Pool, said: "All the work the volunteers have done has saved the council thousands of pounds in maintenance.
"£15,000 for Shoalstone Pool and all the pleasure it gives residents and tourists in the Bay is not a lot of money.
"Asking for volunteer lifeguards is fine but we would hope to see them find that money and open the pool straight away for the whole 16 weeks as usual.
"They're taking the mick a little bit. What a fine example of this so-called Big Society."
Torbay and Brixham town councillor Vic Ellery said: "The Friends of Shoalstone have done a terrific job getting the pool ready with the aid of many volunteers from the community.
"The funds have been raised and all that we need now are the lifeguards. Without these the pool cannot be open.
"I can only hope that sufficient qualified volunteers do come forward to enable Shoalstone to be used by Brixham families and visitors this year as much as ever.
"The combination of Torbay and Brixham Council working together has been of real benefit and it has been heartwarming to see the Community Partnership and many other town groups and even school children being involved this year.
"It says a lot about the place this pool holds in the hearts of Brixham people.
"Volunteer lifeguards would literally be lifesavers to this pool this year."
Anyone interested in supporting Shoalstone Pool can contact email@example.com or call 01803 207975.