No one could predict this time last year that the world was to face a pandemic which impacted on all our lives and businesses in this extraordinary way. One can so easily dwell on the negative issues, but I think we can be positive in reporting that Wigton Baths pulled in a good income until the end of March 2020. Once Covid 19 hit we lost our main income from all schools and swimming lessons, and the entire footfall from April, May and June. However, having made the Baths Covid secure we were able to open in late July and attracted a steady support from the community.
Wigton Baths Trust took advantage of the government Job Retention Scheme and we were grateful that no jobs have been lost. We were able use the first lockdown period for essential maintenance; repairing the Air Handling Unit and repainting the Baths so that once opened we could offer a fresh clean Baths to our returning customers. This period was also used to make alterations to the Baths including the reception area to ensure we could reopen Covid secure.
GRANTS Since April 2020 income was supplemented by Allerdale Borough Council, the precept set by Wigton Town Council, and the annual contributions from Great Orton Windfarm. We would not have survived this year if these grants had not been in place. We were grateful that we could also benefit from government grants to help manage business closures during the pandemic. We are very grateful especially in these difficult times to continue to receive the generous contributions from parish councils Aikton, Allhallows, Boltons, Bromfield, Kirkbride, Thursby, Waverton, and Westward. This support has made all the difference to helping us keep the baths open for the community. With help from a grant from Active Cumbria new fitness class sessions have been timetabled to incentivise and encourage back previous members with long-term health conditions in small socially distanced classes to reengage them in physical activity. We were very grateful that our income was further boosted in December 2020 by a grant from the Joyce Wilkinson Trust, helping our charity get through these trying times with limited footfall.
DEVELOPMENT PLANS Unfortunately, our main aims to open the new access road and build our loft extension have been held up by the pandemic. But I am confident that these will be redressed in the not too distant future. We were very pleased that Sport England has rolled over the conditional grant awarded for the for the Loft extension for another year. It would have made a world of difference if those planned dry side spaces had been available to welcome customers with additional rooms to ease social distancing.
FOOTFALL in 2020 I would like to thank the Baths Manager Elaine Hudson and her staff team for all their good work, initiatives and effort in this profoundly difficult year. When The Baths reopened at the end of July staff were able to welcome individuals and groups following Covid secure guidelines provided by Swim England. Swimming lessons recommenced and full bookings for schools were made for September but before term started all cancelled apart from Thomlinson Junior School. It is unfortunate that the Baths were locked down again in November but some custom was regained in December, lessons recommenced and the school swimming slots were fully booked for the January term. Including sessions for new schools and children with special needs. But January 2021 starts with lockdown once again. It is difficult to forecast the financial future but if the community continues to support Wigton Baths then Wigton Baths Trust will do its utmost to provide sessions to fulfil its mission to secure and develop Wigton Baths for people of all ages and abilities.
WORKING WITH THE COMMUNITY We are a community pool that exists because of its community support and is the only community pool in North Allerdale. The Pool itself is an asset to the community and is used by individuals groups and families including the resident Sub Aqua Dive Club and the Swim Club. In addition to teaching the skill of swimming, the Baths staff promote and provide activities in the water for groups and schools including water awareness and life saving, providing both sports and leisure activities.
Once Wigton Baths are allowed to open again our Baths Manager will help customers make bookings subject to Covid 19 guidelines. The popular long standing Swim Club normally meets weekly and has about 70 members. Sessions will be timetabled as soon as the Swim Club Coaches who are currently shielding are available to run the club again.
Wigton Baths staff work closely with and deliver joint projects to Wigton Youth Station and Wigton Boxing Club.
FUND RAISING Activities such as Quiz nights, Dances and Raffles are on hold because of the difficulties of social distancing. We are most grateful to all who usually join in and we look forward to welcoming them when social activities are allowed. In the meantime on line fundraising is helpful such as:
Allerdale and Lakeland Lottery: Wigton Baths is one of the charities named in the Allerdale Lottery and tickets to support Wigton Baths can be purchased on allerdalelottery.com.
Co-op Local Community fund: Shoppers at the Co-op can choose Wigton Baths Trust this year as the charity they wish to support. Every time they spend £1 on selected Co-op products 2p goes to Wigton Baths.
The WBT 100 club. Joined for £5 monthly with £50 prize available each month.
I hope your organisation feels we are offering a facility that deserves your continued support. Please let us know if we can improve in any way.
Kind Regards, Mave Tyas, Director, Wigton Baths Trust
Wigton Baths Trust : Company No: 8952126 : Registered Charity 115906 The Cumberland Account name: Wigton Baths Trust. Sort Code: 16-52-21 Account Number: 52159557