Drayton Junior School swimming pool reopens after huge £25k fund-raising appeal
- Credit: Archant
An incredible community effort to raise £25,000 has reopened the at-risk swimming pool at Drayton Junior School - but more hard work is needed to sustain it.
Just before Christmas last year the air filtration system in the 55-year-old pool failed. The huge repair bill left just two options - close the pool or appeal for help.
And through coffee mornings, sky dives, non-uniform days and some successful grants, the Friends of Drayton Junior School have now surpassed their target.
The first swimmers went back into the pool on Monday, but to keep it open another £9,000 is needed.
'The pool has been used such a lot over the years, and it is where I learned to swim,' said teacher Michael Silvester.
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'To keep it going it was a case of having to raise this money. There was no way the school would be able to afford it ourselves.'
The pool had been used by 16 different schools and five clubs, who have relocated while the pool has been out of action.
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Repairs are still needed to the roof, and £18,500 worth of additional grants have been pledged - provided the school raise another £9,000 by March.
'At the moment the pool is unsustainable without us raising more money,' said Mr Silvester. 'We do not want to get back to the situation we did before where we suddenly have to close and find money we do not have to keep it open.
'It is achievable, and we know it can be done.'
The school demonstrated their commitment to reopening the pool by keeping swimming teacher Donna Boyes on their books. 'I was so lucky they kept me on because they didn't have to do that,' she said. 'I have been doing all sorts around the school since it happened, and I can't describe the feeling now. The best thing was seeing the Year 5s coming in and to see the look on their faces.
'I can't say how grateful I am, but we still need to dig a little bit deeper.'
Headteacher David Oldham, who took up post at the school in September, added the appeal had been 'an incredible community effort'.
'When I took on the school this project was going on and I was amazed by the support,' he said. 'It shows in the school they really do value the children. It is not just about the results but the opportunities we can give them. 'It is important there is that depth of feeling that the community really wanted to work with the school to raise the money.'
Drayton Junior School are also competing for the Aviva Community Fund at www.community-fund.aviva.co.uk/voting/project/view/16-2595. Voting closes on Friday.