HISTORY OF KIRKCUDBRIGHT SWIMMING POOL.
1. The Vision Through To The Opening.
Kirkcudbright Swimming Pool is a community financed, built and operated pool located in the small town of Kirkcudbright [pop approximately 3 500] in south west Scotland. Kirkcudbright lies by the mouth of the River Dee, 6 miles from the sea.
Before the building of the Kirkcudbright Pool, most people had to travel the ten miles to Castle Douglas to swim. By 1987 the view that Kirkcudbright needed its own pool was sufficiently widespread for a campaign to begin.
The Friends of Kirkcudbright Swimming Pool worked tirelessly for more than 10 years to raise the money required to build a pool in the town. Their mission statement was “to make Kirkcudbright a Swimming Town.”
Opportunities for sport and leisure in the town were felt to be limited. Another
motivation was the desire to allow local schoolchildren to learn to swim in the town, rather than to have to travel all the way to Castle Douglas when the pool there was opened in 1972.
The ‘Friends’ walked, run, cycled, raffled, held exhibitions, fashion shows and coffee mornings. They held barbeques, sold bricks, collected money in cans, collected cans for money and took a prominent part in Parade Days to keep up interest and the supply of donations. A Charity Shop was opened originally in Andy Campbell’s joinery shop and it was such a success that we still have a shop today. Many of these photos from the fundraising days of the 1980s and 90s can be seen on the Pool website today.
By May 1990 the Friends had shown how serious they were by registering the KSP as a private limited company at Companies House. The Friends then registered themselves in January 2002.
Initially, the Council were rather sceptical that there would be sufficient demand for, and use of, a pool in Kirkcudbright. The supporters were challenged to raise the sum of £100 000 to prove their intent and the fact that the community would support a pool. After the Friends had successfully raised the £100 000 the Council revealed that they had their own plans to build some much needed pools in Dumfries and Galloway. Unfortunately none of them would be in Kirkcudbright. To the amusement of few in the town, the Council suggested to the Friends that they donate the fruits of their labours [the £100 000] to Castle Douglas Pool !
Fortunately the Friends stuck to their belief that the town needed, and could sustain, a pool of its own. They researched suitable building designs with the specifications they required and found designs that were more affordable than those specified by the Council. It was clear that a good pool could be built for around £500 000.
With a clear figure in mind and a design in mind, fundraising continue. They also worked to seek funding from various organisations and eventually they attracted matching funding from the Lotteries Commission and a grant from Dumfries and Galloway Council.
After much hard work and determination the Pool opened its doors in 1997. The building was certainly pleasant one to the eye. The swimming pool measured 20m x 8.5m. The water depth is 0.9m, graduating to maximum depth of 1.5m in the deepest part of the pool.
Kirkcudbright now had a pool to be proud of and one that did credit to the hard work and dedication over more than a decade of countless volunteers and local people.
A HISTORY OF KIRKCUDBRIGHT SWIMMING POOL.
2. 1997 to the Present.
1997 Opened to the public
Formation of Kirkcudbright Amateur Swimming Club [KASC] known as ‘The Otters’.
2007 Grand Auction to raise money for 10th Birthday
2011 Biomass Boiler installed
Solar panels installed. 30 kw.
Raised nearly £100 000 from Heritage Lottery Fund and Big Lottery Jubilee Peoples Millions.
2012 Presentation and report on work at Pool to the Queen at Jubilee Garden Party.
Initially the Pool had a tiny staff and the local community helped out as volunteers. Individuals volunteered, and trained, as receptionists and lifeguards and gave up their free time to keep the pool open. So much hard work had gone into the fight to have a pool that it became a point of principle to keep it open.
In recent years, as the pool as expanded and diversified its operations, the balance has changed slightly. The pool employs more staff and relies less on volunteers.
Fundraising can never stop and there are raffles, dances, cheese and wines, appeals for donations and grants to fill up the year. The volunteers in the Charity Shop continue to put in many hours and to raise thousands every month.