Our Campaign to keep St George's Leisure Centre and Swimming Pool in Shadwell
So we ran our own consultation, creating an anonymous survey on google forms so it was easy to access.
We had an amazing response with over 250 replies! The majority of people expressed a preference for the pool to remain in Shadwell, with 89% of people wanting to see it refurbished, and in the event this isn't possible 77% wanted to see it rebuilt on the same site.
88% of people said Shadwell needs a temporary demountable pool in Shadwell in the interim.
The council's decision:
To begin community work on designing a brand new leisure centre and pool on the same site in Shadwell, while exploring again the feasibility of refurbishing the pool instead.
After a series of workshops with local residents, and through listening within our own institutions in Shadwell Responds, we knew we had to do something about the future of St George's pool.
The council ran a community consultation from November 2021 to the beginning of January 2022 on whether to refurbish, or rebuild St George's, or build a swimming pool at the existing John Orwell Leisure Centre in Wapping instead.
Many people we spoke to felt this consultation was not extensive enough, giving no indication of temporary provision while a new pool was being built. It also didn't allow for space to share why keeping the pool in Shadwell is important (or not). Finally it was difficult to fill out, as you were required to have a Tower Hamlets' council account.
So what did we do with this information?
We reached out to 6 local primary schools and asked them to participate in creating a piece of art using children's hands to show the number of children currently without a local swimming facility. We expected to collect a few hundred hands, but we ended up with over 1000! This artwork is the background to this page - many of the children wrote on their hands why they wanted the pool to remain in Shadwell. It was really powerful.
We then invited Mayor John Biggs and Cabinet Member Cllr Sabina Akhtar to see the artwork, to hear the responses to our survey, and to commit to the future of St Georges.
They were impressed by the engagement we demonstrated and committed to:
Engaging with the findings of our survey which calls for investing in a quality swimming pool on the St George's site and meeting with us when the consultation had finished
Seriously exploring the option of installing a temp swimming pool in Shadwell
That they will meet with us every other month to discuss the long-term future of the pool and involve us in key decisions.
A BIG WIN for Shadwell Responds and our community.
We have secured the future of the swimming pool in Shadwell, serving our community for generations.
We are now interested in ensuring the community are able co-develop the refurbished or rebuilt swimming pool and that adequate interim provision is looked at to ensure children in Shadwell have access to swimming.