The future of community-run Bramley Baths has been secured for the next 50 years, it’s been revealed.
Attendees at the baths’ AGM last night were told that the original 25-year lease from Leeds City Council to run the building has been extended to 50 years, effectively securing the baths’ long-term future as a community-run enterprise.
The extension of the lease will give trustees the chance to apply for external funding for major improvement projects to the Edwardian building, including roof repairs, new boilers, brick work and improved changing facilities.
John Battle, who chaired the AGM, said:
“We’ve spoken to both Heritage Lottery and Sport England and they said we’d need more than a 25-year lease if we were to successfully apply for money. The council were so impressed with what we’ve been doing here that last Thursday they gave us a new 50-year lease.
“Getting this lease means we can go to funders and start to apply for money to allow us to carry out improvements to the building, while still staying open to the public. This place is a treasure.
“We’ve proved that as a community we can run a great venue, now we need to be really ambitious for the health and wellbeing of the next generation and involve more people in creating brilliant opportunities through Bramley Baths. Come and get involved.”
People attending the AGM were treated to a special celebratory cake shaped as Bramley Baths.
— Cat Chrimes (@CatChrimes) September 26, 2017
The AGM heard that the Baths, which has been community run since 2013 and date back to 1904, has had a successful financial year.
Record numbers of local adults have been learning to swim and there is now a financial surplus to reinvest in the organisation.
The AGM report concludes:
“We are therefore pleased to report that the year to 31 March 2017 was, on balance, a very positive one. particularly in relation to the community’s increased participation in swimming, seen in groups of all ages and abilities.
“We are now looking to increase the reach and impact of the organisation through investment in the building, its systems and its people in order to improve the health and wellbeing of more people in the community over the years to come.”
In the period April 2016 – March 2017 Bramley Baths launched a new Sunday service extending opening times for the gym and pool, introduced popular adult swimming lessons and started the UK’s first Aqua Ballet barre class.
A local triathlon enthusiast started up the TriBB triathlon club to prove that it doesn’t have to cost much to become a triathlete and is now coaching 25/30 regulars twice a week. And in 2016 ten local teenagers received free lifeguard training and a nationally recognised NPLQ certificate they can use to gain employment anywhere in the UK.
Chief Executive Tracy Basu said:
“Bramley Baths is going from strength to strength, and we’re really delighted that more people are joining in and finding out how good it is to feel fitter.
“The next step is to understand what other services people need us to offer, and to make some improvements to the building so that it is a place more people can benefit from.”
Bramley Baths press spokesperson Fran Graham added:
“What began as a campaign to save a much-loved community space has flourished as a social enterprise; driven by the community and delivered by a team of professional lifeguards, teachers and managers.
“Now in its fifth year, Bramley Baths is a successful example of people working in partnership with Leeds City Council to preserve local services.
“The organisation has gone from strength to strength since the asset transfer in late 2012, creating jobs and opportunities, encouraging more people into regular exercise, and developing new activities to make getting fit really good fun.”
Local people were invited at the AGM to contribute new ideas to improve the Edwardian building and co-design new affordable activities to encourage a wider range of people to get active and feel better for it.