July 15th 2020
We find ourselves in unusual times: Despite the fact that, due to Covid-19, our lido has not been able to open this year, never has the existence of our organisation been more crucial! Below, please find some important information about your committee, and the issues we have been considering in recent weeks.
You will be aware that it was necessary to cancel our AGM last March due to the Coronavirus, and it has therefore not been possible to formally elect or re-elect members of your Committee. In these circumstances, and with the exception of Trish Halstead who has asked to stand down, your Committee remains the same as last year (see foot of email), with members agreeing to serve for a further year, or until Covid-19 restrictions allow a formal process to take place. If any member has any objection to this continuation of committee membership, could they please advise me as soon as possible so that alternative arrangements can be considered.
Covid-19 and 2020 Lido Season Update
Further to my email of 19th June and following the announcement from the Government sanctioning the re-opening of swimming pools “if it is safe to do so”, your Committee has considered very carefully our priorities and next actions. There has been lots of speculating and deliberating about this issue, both publicly and behind the scenes … and I therefore want to update our members with all that has occurred.
We are aware of a local campaign to open the lido for a shortened 2020 Season, however, the reality is that the lido is very unlikely to open for the 2020 season. Of course, this decision does not rest with the Friends of the Lido! During the ongoing 90-day consultation period, Vivacity remain in control of all leisure, arts and heritage venues, and Stewart Francis – Chair of Vivacity Trustees – has stated that they cannot support what would be an inevitable financial loss – and neither can the City Council, particularly at a time when they too are hit by unprecedented demands.
The Friends of the Lido Committee has considered this matter very carefully, and has concluded that the interests of the Friends would best be served by directing our energies into campaigning for the long-term survival of the lido, rather than pursuing a “quick win” in 2020. Our reasons for this are as below –
- Firstly, making our lido Covid-safe for all – whatever the legal position – will be extremely difficult to achieve, and the qualifying condition of “if it is safe to do so” must be taken seriously. The threat of Coronavirus still threatens us all, with the World Health Organisation advising that the worst is still yet to come, and “second waves” occurring nationally and internationally. Although it is thought that the virus cannot survive in a chlorinated pool, the furniture within the lido – lockers, changing cubicles, toilets, showers, entry turn styles – all provide the opportunity for the disease to be transferred from person to person, and social distancing – the central pillar of disease control – will be almost impossible to enforce within the lido environment, not to mention managing queues of people outside. We have all seen what has happened at recent crowded events and venues (Bournemouth and other beaches, the London marches, Liverpool FC’s championship win, etc) – and our very grave concern is that those attending the lido in a relaxed state of enjoyment may not observe the social distancing standards required to ensure the safety of all.
- Secondly, the economic viability of the lido is crucial at this time. Managing the social distancing concerns described above would necessitate additional staff – at additional cost, and many weeks of preparation would still be required before the lido could be opened. At this stage of the Summer, it would simply not be economically viable to open the facility for some four-five weeks.
Contrary to the suggestion that failure to open the lido during 2020 would mean failure to open in future years, it is our view that to incur either a huge financial loss this year and/or run the risk of visitors falling victim to the virus would prejudice the case for the long-term survival of the lido.
The Committee therefore firmly and unanimously believes that our strategic and long-term aim should be to focus to “develop and enhance the … financial viability and long-term sustainability of the Lido” in accordance with Clause 1.1 of our Constitution.
No-one would like to see the lido open more than members of the Friends Committee, who have given many hours of their time to promote, develop and preserve our beloved lido! We know that our position may disappoint some of our supporters, but hope that they will continue to support us as we carefully consider and work towards what we feel is best for Peterborough’s Lido.
Looking to the Future
Following a period of inactivity brought about by lockdown and the uncertainty it has brought, the Committee has now commenced a programme of zoom meetings so that we can continue to monitor events and keep you up to date with developments.
Please be assured that your committee is working hard to ensure that our voice is heard as part of the ongoing discussions concerning the future of our Lido. I am pleased to say that I was able to attend a one-to-one virtual meeting with the Peterborough City Council’s Chief Executive, who has assured me that – at the appropriate time, and alongside other stakeholders – the Friends will be invited to contribute to the debate regarding the future of Vivacity venues.
We know that many of members will feel equally passionate about the lido’s survival, and will be contacting you where opportunities arise to support the lido’s survival and demonstrate the passion that is felt for this remarkable facility.
It is not yet clear to what extent funding may play a part in decisions regarding the lido’s survival. However, despite the fact that the lido has not been able to open and member benefits have not therefore been applicable, some members have indicated that they still wish to contribute towards future activities of the Friends. If you feel that you still wish to support the lido by contributing the equivalent of the Friends’ annual membership fee (or other amount) please let me know so that I can provide details of our bank account to enable you to pay into the account.
Our Website and Facebook page
.. continue to keep abreast of local and national news and views impacting upon our lido, and we will continue to post relevant information on the site in order to keep everyone up to date with events.
In conclusion, I hope all our members, their families and friends, are keeping safe – and sane – amidst these unprecedented times. The loss of our lido this year has been devastating for us all, and I sincerely hope that we will all be able to enjoy its facilities and each other’s company again next year, in celebration and, most of all, in safety.
Chair – Friends of Peterborough Lido
On behalf of your Committee:
Janet Martin, Clare Marshall, Maggie Divers, Sue Bailey, Tom Measures, Dave Hopkins and Monica Ilett