15th Jan, 2021

Redditch children to learn vital skill of swimming thanks to Woodrow First School

Ross Crawford 11th Dec, 2020

REDDITCH children will learn the vital skill of swimming – thanks to a remarkable community effort at Woodrow First School.

Helped by a local businessman, the school’s pool, which needed repairs costing more than £40,000, has been transformed thanks to local residents and a host of local companies – plus one from Huddersfield.

The school is one of the few in the county with its own pool, a pool that has seen thousands of children learn to swim over the decades.

But, needing a new boiler, lighting and much more it was forced to close, spurring headteacher Richard Kieran to launch a fundraising drive to save it in February this year.

Local residents rallied round and the story was featured in the Redditch Standard.

That story caught the eye of a local businessman, who wishes to remain anonymous, whose own children had learnt to swim in the pool.

“I phoned the school, explained I wanted to help and was invited in to be shown the extent of the refurbishment and gain an appreciation of the mountain the school had to climb,” he said.

“Having also been given a tour of the school, it soon became apparent this was a cause well worth supporting – the outstanding behaviour of the children, the quality of work, the dedication and warmth of staff.”

The result was the creation of ‘The Friends of Woodrow First School’ made up of local businesses and individuals who wanted to help.

Starting in July, with generous financial support, companies determined to get things right, materials supplied at cost, work done at a loss and innovative approaches the pool was transformed in just two months.

“Thanks go to John Bayliss Heating and Plumbing, Kevin Mills of Woodland Electrical, Recotherm of Studley for the air conditioning and to Concept Pools of Huddersfield for a beautiful pool liner and fittings,” said the businessman, who also hailed local volunteers Bernard O’Hara, Pete and Jim Noonan and Krzysztof Kaczmarczyk.

The school community and residents also played their part – Joy Stanley whose grandchildren attend the school, raised £400 by running the Virtual Amsterdam Marathon.

In total local people raised nearly £1,600, enough to pay for a new pool cover and more.

And this Monday gone, December 7, wrapped in ribbons, the school assembled for the grand unveiling of the new look pool.

Mr Kieran said: “It’s marvellous, what a community we have here, and it’s great to have good news too, we can’t thank people enough.”

The plan is to make the pool available for external groups to use too.

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