Rejoicing campaigners and councillors have lauded Manchester City Council’s decision to keep Broadway swimming baths open for at least another year.
Despite the council allowing baths in Levenshulme, Miles Platting and Withington to stay open until new facilities are built, Broadway was originally destined to close at the end of May.
But last week the council announced it will remain open for the next financial year and work with Friends of Broadway Leisure Centre (FBLC) for fundraising, subject to executive approval.
And Danny Wood, chairman of Broadway Amateur Swimming Club (ASC), feels the result has been the product of hard work that has seen the community come together.
“We are absolutely ecstatic that we’ve got this reprieve,” he told MM. “Having said that it’s been hard work to get this. We ended up with a community that is passionate to keep it open.
“We are over the moon that we have collectively saved the baths. We have all put our efforts in.
“In the beginning, nobody realised that there would be as many people crying out to keep it open as there was in the community.
“All the community have pulled together and it’s been unbelievable – even I didn’t expect that many.”
FBLC have drawn up a business plan to help raise the £89,000 needed to run the facility for this financial year and they intend to run it for at least two more afterwards.
The group – of around 50 members – have worked together with Moston’s councillors to keep the facility open, something Mr Wood paid tribute to.
“Without their help, I don’t think we would achieve what we have achieved,” he said. “The councillors have really helped us with what we have tried to achieve.”
Mr Wood was also keen to highlight the impact closing the facility would have, not just on Manchester residents but also people from neighbouring areas like Chadderton and Oldham.
“It’s unbelievable the amount of people it has an impact on,” he said. “You have only got to walk 20 yards and you are out of the area. It affects people beyond our boundaries.
“Being in the north of the city and on the border, the situation was that potentially 30 percent of the people who came to the baths were out of the area.
“We weren’t having a new baths built and all the rest were. Not only that, they are closing the library and potentially the day centre within Moston.
“To go to Chadderton early in the morning, people would have to pay for the bus plus Chadderton baths make them pay to have a swim – and we don’t.”
One of Moston’s councillors who have helped save the baths is Rita Tavernor, who has worked hard with fellow members Henry Cooper and Paul Murphy to help make this a reality.
“The reprieve of the Broadway Baths closure was excellent news for the communities of Moston, Charlestown and North Manchester,” she said.
“We have worked with FBLC to draw up a successful business plan, which we hope will keep the baths open for the next year and the foreseeable future.
“Much hard work has already been done and this will continue with the support of the community.”
Despite the pool being spared immediate closure, Mr Wood believes the work to save New Moston’s other facilities – such as the library – is far from over.
Their plans include putting the library within the swimming baths building to create a community hub for residents of Moston and beyond.
“We are putting forward that hopefully we can become a communications centre, not just with the library but helping people out with new community benefits,” he said.
“We know it’s the age of electronics and you can pick up an iPad and read a book. But at the end of the day, there are a lot of people where the emphasis is being online and a lot are not.
“We are also looking at a big health push in terms of referrals from doctors so hopefully we can be a centre for that as well.”
For more information about Broadway ASC visit http://broadwayasc.com/
Picture courtesy of Adrian Pingstone. via Wiki Commons, with thanks.