Help bring East Neuk swimming pool back to life

West Braes Project want to restore Pittenweem swimming pool.
West Braes Project want to restore Pittenweem swimming pool.

People used to flock in their hundreds to relax at the open air swimming pools that cling to the edges of the East Neuk.

Once hubs of the community, used by locals and tourists alike, the pools now sit dormant and decaying, unused.

However, for one East Neuk village, that could soon change.

A recently-established charity is now looking to bring one of those pools back to life.

The West Braes Project is taking part in the Aviva Community Fund, and is seeking votes from the public to help secure funding for the restoration of Pittenweem’s pool.

The group, all volunteers, want to use the funding to repair and strengthen the sea walls, create disabled and ambulance access, install rest platforms around the edge of the pool, and a wave wall to protect it.

Nicola Thomson (40), secretary for the group, said the restoration of the pool had often come top of local surveys asking residents what they would like to see done in the village.

“We’ve started with the pool project – the drawings have been done,” she said.

“Our next port of call is in November, when we’ll do a public consultation to make sure people are happy with the designs, and if they want any changes.

“I think people just want to see the pool back open.”

Robin Bremner (44), a volunteer, said many members of the community remember learning to swim in the pool.

He said: “For people who grew up in this town in the 40s, 50s, 60s etc., there wasn’t any other leisure activity in the town.

“You could go swimming cheaply – and everyone did.

“But now the pool is getting into such a bad state of repair that it’s not holding water anymore. We’re in danger of losing the ability to swim in it.

“We have to do something.”

Nicola, who said the group would also rent out wet suits and equipment, added: “There are a lot of different outdoor activities which could be done at the pool.

“It’s got so much scope. I think that’s why people are really desperate to see it happen.”

As well as restoring the swimming pool, the group is involved in several projects in the village, having installed a crazy golf and work currently ongoing on create a pitch and putt.

A small shackhas been set up next to the crazy golf, selling refreshments and drinks, with all the profits going back into the group.

Another project the group is looking to secure funding for is a sensory garden.

The project is one of three selected for the Tesco’s Bags of Help scheme, which gives the public the chance to vote for projects to receive funding, with the stores in St Andrews and Cupar running the scheme later this year.

Other ideas for the future include holding barbecues and creating groups to let children get more hands on with the environment.

The group was formed in 2015, before becoming a charity earlier this year, with the aim of rejuvenating the West Braes area of the village.

Nicola says the group’s members wanted to do something for the community.

“The whole project is about trying to tap into health and well-being, and tackling social isolation,” she said. “Because we are a rural village. And now there’s not a lot to do. There’s a lot of groups, young and old, that have nothing to do.

“We realised things were going to rack and ruin and we wanted to do something, to come together as a community and for it to involve everybody.

“The point of the project is that we want everyone to be equal. Nobody is isolated. Just because they don’t have the money doesn’t mean that they can’t part.”

If you would like to support the restoration of the Pittenweem swimming pool, visit www.community-fund.aviva.co.uk/voting/project/view/17-3425, and vote for the project.