The Copmanthorpe Primary School Governors again discussed our Project to renovate and reopen the school swimming pool at their full board meeting on 10th May 2021. Unfortunately, a vote confirmed that the Governors remain unable to support our Project. This means that our charity cannot continue with the aim of saving the existing school pool.
The Governors’ decision is the culmination of a discussion between Copmanthorpe Community Pool and the Governors over the last year. The summary below gives details on the Governors’ concerns and our responses to them with links to the Governors’ letters (with their permission) and our responses.
The Governors stated their intention to make a decision on whether to support our Project at their October meeting, including a requirement for guarantees of at least 50% of the funding required (1 July 2020 letter). We responded to this letter noting that funding targets and deadlines were not appropriate given major funders were not accepting applications for non-COVID-19 related projects, amongst other matters (15 July 2020 letter). The Governors held an extra-ordinary meeting to consider our response and proposed amended criteria for our update to their October meeting (31 July 2020 letter).
We provided a detailed progress report for the Governors’ meeting, addressing the Governors’ three criteria, noting the ongoing COVID-19 impacts on funding applications and highlighting progress made in spite of this (October 2020 report). Following discussion at their meeting, the Governors decided to withdraw their support for the Project (31 October 2020 letter). We responded to this letter to request a meeting in early 2021 with representatives of the Governors to discuss their decision and try to find a more constructive way forward that satisfied both the School’s concerns and respected local support for our Project as demonstrated in our community survey.
Three representatives of our Project (including two charity Trustees) met with three Governors (including the Chair and Deputy Chair) via Zoom. We discussed the Governors’ reasons for withdrawing their support (in brief – Governors considered the Project unlikely to raise sufficient funds and Project timescales too long) and our proposals to address them (including focussing fundraising on reopening the pool at first) (March meeting notes).
Notes from the March meeting and updated relevant information (including new funding sources) were presented at the Governors’ May meeting. We were also able to provide an updated costs estimate for the Project based on splitting it into a first phase to get the pool back in use (and generating income and support) and a second phase to add an extension with improved changing rooms and other facilities. The costing for the first phase was around £250K and would include improvements such as insulation (which reduces running costs), increasing the pool depth (which enables more activities to take place), and adding stepped access (which increases the accessibility of the pool) – improvements that make the facility more usable for more people. We also noted that the costs of materials etc. are standard rates and Trustees would look to secure discounts and in-kind contributions to reduce overall costs.
Following discussion, the Governors voted not to change their position and to withdraw their support for the Project (14 May 2020 letter).
Without the Governors’ support, we cannot continue the Project with the aim of saving the existing school pool. The two options we are considering are to continue with a different aim of building a new swimming pool elsewhere in the village or to wrap-up the charity.
If we do continue, this means a rethink of the existing business plan and funding applications because they are geared towards saving an existing facility, not building a new one.
If we do not continue, the money we raised before we became a charity will go to the Friends of Copmanthorpe Primary School and the remainder to the Copmanthorpe Recreation Centre. Any Pledges will not be collected, and the Sink or Swim village lottery will close.