Volunteer invites critics to help with upkeep of Wigan pool

Jim Ellis is refurbishing the building at Hindley Community Swimming Pool, he would like volunteers to help keep the building tidy.
Jim Ellis is refurbishing the building at Hindley Community Swimming Pool, he would like volunteers to help keep the building tidy.

A former Wigan councillor has hit out at critics of a public swimming pool which he has poured “tens of thousands of pounds” into over the past four years.

Jim Ellis, trustee of Hindley swimming pool, is inviting members of the public to volunteer to help keep the swimming pool up to scratch following accusations that it is “dirty” and “cold”.

Jim Ellis is refurbishing the building at Hindley Community Swimming Pool, he would like volunteers to help keep the building tidy.

Jim Ellis is refurbishing the building at Hindley Community Swimming Pool, he would like volunteers to help keep the building tidy.

Five years ago, Mr Ellis campaigned as an independent councillor to keep the Borsdane Avenue swimming pool open after the town hall opted for its closure.

But he decided to take on the role of manager himself after the collapse of the campaign group which was formed to save it from being torn down. However, recently Mr Ellis and his team of paid and volunteer staff have recently come under fire from members of the public who are not happy with the state of the facility.

Mr Ellis said: “We have worked hard to improve things at the pool and find it very disheartening to read comments from local people who do not seem to be in favour of supporting the facilities they have access to. We are a small team and have no support from the local council or sponsors.

“With such a large workload and range of activities to cover and being open for over 13 hours a day, our small and dedicated team find some tasks can prove difficult at certain times.

Trustees help out where they can, typically painting, decorating and repairs. I’m here painting today.

“Cleanliness has been mentioned a number of times but sadly not to staff who could have done something about it at the time.”

The trustee, together with manager Adam Clarke-Jones, Mr Ellis wrote a letter to Hindley residents explaining the difficulties faced in running the pool.

To combat the problem of “dirty water”, the pair have announced plans to place a “shower-type arrangement” at the entrance to the pool from the changing rooms to encourage people to wash before swimming.

Mr Ellis has said that staff have been faced with the problem of people not showering prior to entering the pool, leaving products such as makeup and hair gel to come off in the water.

He added: “The problems we have were largely inherited when we took over the pool, which was in our view a result of poor management by the previous operators.

“This low standard of pool management resulted in a dire reputation which we are slowly overcoming.

“It should be appreciated that, if we had failed to take over the running of the pool, it was due to be knocked down, not to be replaced by a new pool but to sell the land off for development, thereby depriving the local community of this facility.

“My commitment to keeping this pool going is total and it’s also providing employment for six people.

“If people are so concerned about the facilities then we are quite happy to see volunteers turn up to help out.

“As far as it goes I do put quite a bit of my own money into it. We are talking tens of thousands of pounds, not peanuts. But I don’t mind as long as it keeps it going,”

The group is looking to welcome people who can volunteer to help with general maintenance such as painting, decorating and repairs.

Mr Ellis said that, as a small charity, they are always looking for help with fundraising campaigns.

Anyone interested in getting involved can contact Hindley Community Pool on 01942 665 356 or ask for Jim Ellis at reception.