jubilee swimming pool
jubilee swimming pool

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Why Jubilee Pool matters

The benefits of swimming

Swimming is an essential life-saving skill, necessary for the prevention of death by drowning. It is the only sport that can save your life. Swim England report that drowning is still one of the most common causes of accidental death in children.
Swimming keeps hearts and lungs healthy, improves strength and flexibility, increases stamina, improves balance and posture, and supports development of self-confidence. People of any age or ability can take part in swimming and it is more accessible for people with additional needs than almost any other sport.

Swimming has also been shown by Health Education England to have a positive impact on educational attainment by increasing the number of brain cells and connections between them, improving our ability to concentrate and learn.

Our area and our health

The health needs in our local area make the role of Jubilee Pool critical, and more important than ever since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Jubilee Pool serves some of the poorest parts of Bristol with the worst socio-economic and health outcomes. The city’s 10 most deprived neighbourhoods are all in the South Bristol areas of Knowle West, Hartcliffe and Whitchurch Park. Mortality rates for respiratory disease in people under 75 years in Knowle are 69.6 per 100,000 compared to the Bristol average of 36.5. Obesity rates are 49% in Knowle, 51% in Brislington West, 53% in Brislington East and 57% in Stockwood compared to the Bristol average of 46%. (Statistics from the City Ward Data Profiles 2021.)

What Jubilee Pool means to the people who use it

IIn January-February 2022, we conducted a community consultation to strengthen our data relating to people’s motivations for using pools and gyms (including ours), the difference our pool makes in their lives, and their suggestions for maximising its potential if our community asset transfer bid was successful. This data and the recommendations of our community consultation report guide our day-to-day running of the pool.

Our online survey received 1,502 responses and was complemented by key informant interviews and focus group discussions with local community members, representing people from groups that are currently underrepresented among the users of Jubilee Pool or who may be less likely to be able to respond to the survey.

From the community consultation we found that, of 790 surveyed pool users:

  • Jubilee Pool is important for improving/maintaining the physical health of 92%, and the mental health of 95%
  • 90% feel Jubilee Pool contributes to their sense of community
  • 86% reported they would either stop swimming completely as part of their usual routine (52%) if the pool closed, or that they would swim less often (34%). Only 3% would swim just as often at another pool and only 5.5% would use another gym
  • 70% agreed with the statement, ‘Jubilee Pool enables me to connect or have social contact with other people’
  • 35% stated that Jubilee is the only place they come into contact with people outside their home on some days

Respondents were also asked, ‘In your own words, what does Jubilee Pool mean to you?’ A small sample of the responses included:

“There are fewer and fewer physical spaces for people to actually be in the same space as others. It is a great pool that is a real hub for everyone locally, from kids to people training for events to 70-year-olds. I don’t know of any other space that encompasses such a wide range of ages and people.”

“My youngest child has autism and severe learning disabilities. The pool environment doesn’t overwhelm him like other pools do…We have made many local friends from going here, and were not made to feel awkward about being there. The lifeguards are professional and friendly. It would be a huge loss if we lost this pool. This pool helps my family access the local community.”

Jubilee-Swimming-Pool.-Photo-taken-from-Jubilee-Pool-campaign-group

“I’m a carer for my husband. My swimming sessions are the only time I get to do something for myself on my own.”
“It is an essential place for our family, my young children especially, to exercise, have fun and feel part of the community. We would be so sad to lose it.”

“I am 9 and I have been swimming at Jubilee since I was a baby. I love swimming and often meet friends at the pool even if we have not planned to. Swimming at Jubilee with my family is fun and special. I would be so sad if I wasn’t able to swim there anymore.”

“It’s a safe place where I feel welcomed and part of a community, and I have made connections that I would never have made if I didn’t have Jubilee. I just love it there.”

“I learned to swim as an adult and do sprint triathlons (indoor only) but still have panic attacks and still find big pools overwhelming. Jubilee is the perfect combination of small, local, friendly, accessible.”

“It means everything to me. Since working from home my mental health has suffered and attending the pool for a lunchtime swim really helps. I am also going through the menopause and I find swimming at the pool helps with both the physical and psychological symptoms. I would be devastated if the pool were to close.

“I feel my son will stop swimming and it’s the only activity he actively gets involved in. He has some developmental delays in gross motor skills and communication and does not respond well to change, noise, crowds. If Jubilee closes, it would have a detrimental effect on the progress he has made.”