Motcombe Pool Open Day

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Community Engagement weekend 21st-22nd October 2023 the Listening Project with Ella Mountain

Listening Project with Ella Mountain

Members of the Motcombe Pool community gathered on the 21st and 22nd October to share stories as part of the Listening Project recorded by our East Sussex College, Eastbourne media student, Ella. Friends’ connections were rekindled, and new contacts formed. CIC historian Warwick P Davies presented a graphic version of his Story of Motcombe Baths. The event provided visitors with an update and the opportunity to consult the CIC team about the Pool rejuvenation proposals and project progress.

History talk with Warwick Davis

Motcombe CIC & 3VA ‘Celebrating Communities’ annual event

Celebrating communities annual event

Now a fully registered Member of 3VA - the organisation that works to support groups making a positive difference in Wealden, Lewes, and Eastbourne communities - Motcombe CIC was delighted to attend by invitation, the regional ‘3VA Celebrating Communities’ event in September 2023.

Social enterprises and charity groups came together at Uckfield Civic Centre, to celebrate their work, to share their understanding, achievements, tips for success, and to make new connections. An inspirational Marketplace of Member organisations was followed by over 100 people taking part in thought provoking workshop sessions and the presentation of annual awards. It was an exceptional day with an extraordinary concentration of altruistic people in one place... Inspirational, and at the same time, both humbling and life-affirming.

The Motcombe ‘Big Dig’ heritage weekend of 9-11th June enabled former and existing contacts to be renewed and new relationships to begin. The CIC hosted three presentations in the House: One from our enthusiastic resident historian, Warwick P Davies who researched and wrote the Story of Motcombe Baths especially for the event. On day two, our Paralympian champion swimmer Ros Hardiman presented ‘Defying Expectations’ her inspirational personal story of swimming for success through disability and adversity after discovering a passion for swimming at the age of 34. Thirdly, the CIC came together to present the project story so far as ‘Where are we Now, How did we get There?’ During the event audio-visual soundscapes presented by our two creative arts and media students enlivened the House with stories shared through the Listening Project launched in the spring of this year. All presentations were well attended and enthusiastically received.

Donations of delicious cakes and cookies from bakers and friends enabled the CIC to provide refreshments for those attending talks at the House and presentations of information in the Gardens. A total of £57 was raised in this way.

In terms of development plans currently being explored and shared, sustainability is key. Clean/renewable energy features predominantly and work is in hand in collaboration with a specialist eco-engineering company, now an official project sponsor.

Motcombe Pool CIC meet this week to share some exciting next steps for Motcombe Pool. Following its designation in 2022 as an Asset of Community Value the team have been working on proposals that aim to establish a forward-looking and sustainable future for the buildings and the pool, that is to bring both the building and pool itself back to life. Plans have now been initiated to enable part of the building to be (re) opened as a community space for committee meetings, community projects and fundraising events. Having received the latest intrusive survey of the pool tank itself, the CIC are now working with Eastbourne Borough Council to analyse and to fully understand the implications for repairs and funding. Once these costs are finalised this will enable the first expression of interest for funding to be submitted.

In the meantime the project has been selected as one of only five Nationwide, to be included in a ‘Carbon emission reduction case study, working with Brighton & Hove Energy Services Cooperative (BHESCo). The study is looking to establish the optimum sustainable energy potential of the pool facility. Results from the study are due in March, opening potential for a greener more sustainable options for the pool and its ongoing running costs and for additional funding pots to be available for now and the future. The CIC are also working in collaboration with East Sussex College Group where we will be embarking on a ‘Listening Project’ to record the Social history with students of the college. It will provide students practical experience on site to carry out recordings and interviews, which can also be used for funding applications.

Helen Nichols, Chair of the Motcombe CIC said “We are hopeful that the space for our new venture will be opened this summer, providing a useable space for our committee and the Friends of Motcombe Pool to come along and share our journey” she continued “I personally am very committed to providing the best sustainable future for our historic pool, and am thrilled to have been chosen by BHESCo for the study and I eagerly await the results of the study”

The CIC is still looking for new volunteers to be part of this exciting project, if you have some spare time and are interested in being part of the group please contact in the first instance : 2020 - Pool closes due to covid restrictions. A number of maintenance issues are raised.

EBC says it will cost more than £1m to restore the pool. Open day held by EBC. Motcombe Pool Community Interest Company created to ‘spearhead the fundraising and restoration’ of the pool. EBC registers the pool as an Asset of Community Value.

Now Councillor Stephen Holt, deputy leader of EBC, has said: “Since the open day, residents have been working with councillors and officers to discuss fundraising, additional surveys and future business cases for the pool. To this end, an intrusive survey into the structural integrity of the pool itself has been commissioned and a working group set up to liaise with operators of other historic swimming baths.”

This intrusive survey will take place before the end of the year according to EBC.

Cllr Holt said: “I am incredibly grateful for all this hard work, commitment and expertise that the residents on the Community Interest Company (CIC) have freely given so far. The overriding objective remains the restoration and reopening of the pool for the long-term benefit of the community and anyone who would like to get involved should contact the CIC and Friends of Motcombe Pool.”

Councillors agree up to £200,000 of match-funding will be made available.

Eastbourne Borough Council confirms the pool will not be sold.

Eastbourne Borough Council (EBC) says ‘detailed investigations are being carried out to evaluate the significant repairs and modernisation required’