In January 2013, an announcement by Manchester City Council was made to the M20 community of South Manchester that the much loved and much used Withington Baths and Leisure Centre was to be closed with immediate effect, as they could no longer afford to run it. Over 1200 members, many of whom walk to the centre, the elderly, students, families on low incomes and others, had no alternative sports facility usage. The building has been an integral part of the Withington community for over 100 years, essential for the heath and well being of local people.
The community galvanised and joined together in non-political, family-friendly protests and held a march through the streets, signing a petition to Save The Baths and gathering an unprecedented 8000 signatures in just two weeks. We presented this to Sir Richard Leese, City Council Leader, on Valentine’s Day 2013.
The voices of local people shouted loudly and their passion for this important community hub was recognised by local councillors. Manchester City Council listened and made a u-turn, announcing that Withington Baths would stay open, though with a deadline. When their new £10m sports centre on Princess Parkway is completed in April 2015, they will cease to run Withington Baths.
The community & Love Withington Baths think there is an alternative to closure!
A committed core committee was formed and much research and work has been done to formulate a robust, solid business plan which will ensure the continued trading success of this vital South Manchester asset. We believe that this small local pool, specialist in nature and design, with an enhanced gym and development of other spaces within the large Edwardian building can be an asset to Withington and wider area for many years to come, via the community-run facility scheme.
Our plan is to have a Withington Baths & Leisure Centre run by the community, for the community. An enhanced and restored building, pool and grounds in the heart of M20, not just surviving but thriving for the next 100 years.
In the future the building will be used for a wide range of additional community purposes, so if you have any ideas on what Withington is missing, or have a community project yourself which is looking for a home...