We want Withington Baths to be a leisure centre run BY the community FOR the community and we think our first very big event ticked these boxes – our Summer Camp! We literally had a week if we wanted this to be a success, so once again, as we do here, everyone swung into action. Posters were designed & printed, emails sent out, social media blitzed with the news & before we know it, on Day 2 of Summer Camp we had THIRTY TWO children! We’d teamed up with the very brilliant Eve & Elle at Dancing Days, to deliver a daily action packed programme of swimming, games, arts & crafts, performances, picnics and games. No DVDs on our watch! We had lots of repeat customers, who commented on the organisation and activities – and we’re now planning our next camp. Watch this space...
“Eva loved everything about the camp last week. She particularly enjoys swimming and dancing so it was right up her street and she was kept busy all day which was great.”
“Abby had a great time. She talked about swimming (the highlight), drawing, stories, and playing outside.”
“Lily and Danny loved the Summer Camp. They liked the mix of activities and really enjoyed the swimming. I was particularly pleased that Danny, who is 10, enjoyed it as he is very active. In fact he was quite cross that I hadn’t booked him in again this week!”
“My kids have been to Summer Camp here this week and last and have had the most amazing time. They would love to go every day through Summer they tell me! The swimming sessions, creative work, garden play and putting on a daily "show" for parents have been an absolute winner. We'll be back in the next holidays and are now looking at membership options. Very well organised and loads of fun with friendly people!”
"My children 5 and 8 attended this Day Camp for the first time this summer and absolutely loved it. It was a great mix of dance, play, arts & crafts and sports activities. The icing on the cake for them was that they were also able to swim each day. It gave me total peace of mind knowing that they where happy, I struggled to get them home at night. Highly recommended." - Rebecca W (Mumsnet website)
On Monday 22nd June, nearly two and a half years to the day since our “Save Withington Baths” campaign started, we opened the doors to our community run leisure centre! Our business plan had been approved and deemed robust, by the City Council, and we were off! We’d spent the week previous with a team of amazing volunteers, painting, cleaning, scrubbing, weeding, carpeting, restoring and installing brand new gym equipment. We clocked up over 1000 hours of volunteer time – bolstered by food deliveries from very generous & supportive local businesses – and we were more than ready on Saturday 20th June to hold our opening party. We’d invited the community to come in & dive into our super clean pool and check out the new gym facilities. We had a ceremonial handing over of the keys from Jeff Smith, our MP, and then we all settled down to watch “United We Will Swim – Again...”, the story of Govan Hill Baths in Glasgow, who have fought a similar fight to us, but now are fighting to get the water back in their pool. No mean feat, and makes us realise just how lucky we are, to be the custodians of Manchester’s last remaining Edwardian pool, which is in use.
Two months on from our opening party, and we couldn’t be more ecstatic with the progress made. We have a burgeoning membership, comprised of previous & new members. We’ve just run an amazing Summer Camp, our children’s swimming lessons are virtually booked up, new classes are seeing increasing number each week and we have introduced some very popular new sessions such as Baby Massage, Street Dance and Withy Water Babies. The future is looking VERY bright at Withington Baths & Leisure Centre...
To begin to convey our “Big Vision” for our heritage building, we transformed the Zumba room into a Summer Banquet Hall. Resplendent with pom-poms, summer flowers from The Flower Lounge and dressed tables, forty guests (it was a sell-out), sat down to a 5 course gourmet meal, prepared by local foodie legend, The Drunken Butcher. No mean feat when we don’t, as yet, have a kitchen on site! Local businesses, including the award-winning Cocoa Cabana and TV's Kate Goodman of Reserve Wines, supported the event & made it a real community affair.
Local DJ & broadcaster Dave Haslam rounded up the comedy troops for an absolutely fantastic night of comedy in the Zumba room - you can’t get much more glamorous really can you?
Hosted by John Thomson, comics Justin Moorhouse, Hayley Ellis and Andrew Ryan had us all in stitches, with audience receipts and bar sales (thanks to barmen Paul & Martin) raising over £1000 for the LWB campaign.
To commemorate the handing over of our 8000+ Save Withington Baths petition in Feb 2013, the inflatable came out, Valentines craft cards were made with Hannah from My Craftea Day and Kate Parsons at KateSews
Lots of local kids had fun and ate way too much cake and made some fabulous Heart Art with Moregeous Design.
We had an amazing community day in September 2013, with a swashbuckling Pirates’ Day on a sunny Saturday afternoon. A treasure hunt down Burton Road, pirate themed fancy dress, treasure chest lucky dip, X-marks the spot, cakes, face painting and the pool inflatable. Local artist Amanda McCrann created a fabulous LWB mosaic and our local MP even walked the plank, what more could you ask for? :)
A brilliant Friday night down at the Baths for staff and members to raise funds for Sport Relief 2014