A new future for Ruskin Park Paddling Pool

Lambeth Council are working alongside the community, Urban Village and Friends of Ruskin Park to make the popular pool cleaner, safer and easier to maintain

 

Background

Run by volunteers, the Ruskin Park paddling pool has long been a much-loved part of the local community since it first opened in the 1920s. So, when Lambeth Council made the difficult decision to close the pool in 2015 due to lack of funds, there was a huge outcry from the local residents and businesses.

Determined to keep the pool well maintained and safe to use, a community partnership was quickly developed to support Lambeth Council and a crowd-funder raised over £15,000. Helping to fund chemicals, water, new pumps and paint, the following four years were a great success for the pool, and with the addition of the Ruskin Park mural, it drew in large numbers of the local community from May through to September.

Cllr Jim Dickson, Cabinet Member for Health and Adult Social Care at Lambeth Council told us:

‘I’d like to say a huge thank you to our amazing Ruskin Park community for their hard work keeping the paddling pool going with very few resources over the past few years.’

However, due to safety concerns as a result of a broken pump, plus the introduction of social distancing in March last year, the difficult decision was sadly made to close the pool.

 

What’s the plan?

Now, a year on and we’re pleased to announce that Lambeth Council is currently working alongside the community and Friends of Ruskin Park to invest capital funds, aimed at renovating the pool, making it cleaner, safer and easier to maintain. Allowing it to reopen!

With an estimated cost of £100,000, it’s no easy task to bring the paddling pool up to date, but with pool reserves from previous funds; donations from Friends of Ruskin Park; an application for CIL funds and a generous donation from the team at Urban Village, the renovation is almost halfway to target. While Lambeth Council plans to cover most of the remainder, Friends of Ruskin Park will ask the community to raise more too.  We would love to hear from potential donors or anyone who can help.

For those who have fought so hard to keep the paddling pool open – particularly for children without access to gardens or freedom to play outdoors – this joint effort from local businesses and volunteers is certainly welcome news after such a difficult 12 months.

 

When will the renovations start?

Currently, the renovations are set to take place after September this year, but adhering to Government guidelines relating to COVID-19 and weekly safety checks from Lambeth Council, we’re pleased to say that the pool should be able to open safely this year on a reduced service. This means it will only be open on weekends from late May Bank Holiday to September, and potentially for a few additional days in the summer holidays.

‘It’s great to see the community and the council working in partnership to bring the much loved Ruskin Park paddling pool back to life,’ adds Cllr Jim Dickson. ‘We look forward to a weekend summer season this year and then use by families seven days a week in 2022.’

Of course, this still only remains possible with the help of volunteers who can drain and clean the pool, while helping to maintain safe and healthy conditions – to get involved and support this great cause, email info@urbanvillagehomes.com or volunteering@friendsofruskinpark.org.uk.

Together, we can keep the community spirit alive and enjoy the paddling pool in years to come!