PEOPLE in Tenbury are being urged to think of their swimming pool when they shop at the new Tesco in the town.

Trustees of the pool that is owned by the community are warning that only local fundraising can ensure the future of the pool and leisure centre.

Now Tenbury swimming pool has been chosen as one of three schemes that could benefit from the Tesco ‘Bags of Help’ initiative.

People have two months to vote at the new store and if the swimming pool and Leisure Centre wins then it will get £4,000 – the lion’s share of a £7,000 pot.

This will be used to pay for a programme of work that includes refurbishing the changing rooms starting with the ladies facilities.

There will also be replacement of double-glazed windows in the swimming pool area that will save money and increase the natural light which, in turn, will cut the electricity bill.

People have until July to cast their vote in Tesco which is done by requesting a token that is then put into a pot.

Mike Webb, one of the directors of the pool, says that it is essential that people remember that it is a community asset and not a local authority run facility.

“The future of the swimming pool is in the hands of the people of the town and surrounding area,” he said.

Fundraising for the swimming pool began in the mid-1960s and included door-to-door collections.

It was eventually opened in 1971 and then a gymnasium was added.

The pool receives a grant of £65,000 a year but this agreement only has a few years to run and there is no guarantee that the support will continue especially in view of the cuts to local government.

Day-to-day running of the swimming pool is undertaken by a contractor Freedom Leisure who have invested in the facility and are responsible for costs of up to £10,000.

However, anything more would fall on the local community.

“There are a lot of potential costs and risks,” added Mike Webb.

“A major problem with the boiler could cost us £40,000 and then there is other expensive equipment like the chlorine dosing and heat exchanger that warms the water in the pool.”

Another issue is the fabric of the building that is generally in good condition but is approaching 50 years old.

“The hope is that the future of the facility can be made sustainable so that it is not in need of grants to survive but this can only happen with the support of the community of Tenbury and the Teme Valley,” said Mike Webb.

A lot of money has been spent to make the building more energy efficient and cut costs.

A pool cover installed two years ago has helped to reduce the heating bill and cut the amount of water that is lost through evaporation.

Low energy lighting has also been installed and the project, with the double-glazing project, is part of the cost-cutting initiative.

Other fundraising events, including musical events, are staged regularly and there is also support from local businesses including a recent donation of £400 from Swan Cabs.

Plans for the future will be revealed at a public meeting to be held at the Masonic Lodge in Tenbury on Wednesday, May 24 at 7pm.