Sandford Parks Lido – Our role in the community

by Fabia Garau

Sandford Parks Lido – Our role in the community


This document demonstrates the public benefit, goodwill and social value Sandford Parks Lido contributes to the community and the important part it plays.

Our ethos is to maintain Cheltenham Borough Council’s objectives back in 1935, which were to improve the health and wellbeing of their community and to ensure the lido was available to everyone. We believe this is just as important today. We strive to serve all of our community.

We ensure access for as many people as we can with reduced entry and hire fees for those on low/supported income with concession prices for the following members of our community:

  • Low income Families
  • Disabled people
  • Students
  • Over 63’s
  • We offer reduced season ticket prices to armed forces personnel and NHS employees
  • Free baby and toddler swimming sessions in the small pool
  • Once a year we reduce the entry fee to the original sum of 2p.
  • We maintain low hire fees to ensure local clubs, charities and schools can access the facility. We offer the hire of the lido to them at a reduced rate to enable them to effectively raise funds for their organisation

We offer free entry to:

  • Carers of people with health conditions or impairments
  • Good causes such as charity fundraisers and school raffles
  • We support the fundraising initiatives of local schools by providing free swimming passes
  • We provide 40 free season tickets to Cheltenham Swimming & Water Polo Club to give support for talented young people, giving them the opportunity to train for free
  • We allow CSWPC to stage their nation annual championships at their lido. We close to the public on these occasions and this has a significant effect on our income and community satisfaction. We chose to give this opportunity to our local swimming club
  • We offer free entry to National Citizen service groups for sponsored swims
  • We provide free playing space for St John’s school. They do not have a playing field and have an arrangement with us for their children to come across town and run around our lawns and use our play equipment during their lunch breaks

We support organisations and charities, enabling mutually supportive partnerships:

  • RNLI free water safety education talks and activities
  • Weekly private training sessions for ARRC Support Battalion Innsworth at cost.
  • We support Gloucestershire Police in their community initiatives ie. free bike coding for community, free advice and walking around our site and meeting our community
  • Free water training venue for Gloucestershire Fire & Rescue throughout the year. Both Cheltenham and Gloucester fire stations use this.
  • We aim to use local suppliers where possible
  • We actively support seven local charities by raising their profile and including them in our fundraising initiatives. We offer the hire of the lido to them at a reduced rate or free to enable them to effectively raise funds for their organisation ie. LINC (Triathlon), Cobalt (Devil’s), Pied Piper (Junior Aquathlon), Maggie’s (private weekly swim session plus reduced rates for patients), Winston’s Wish (Sunrise Swim), Heidi’s Heroes (free swim session), Macmillan (sponsored swim)
  • We provide parking for staff, patients and visitors to the hospital

Our volunteers give their time/hours at events: We offer opportunities for volunteering, supporting and encouraging volunteering. We feel this is so important for a sense of wellbeing and to give something back to our community:

  • Students from Gloucestershire University volunteered to develop a creative corner in the children’s pool
  • We run our own volunteer scheme consisting of over 30 individuals who regularly help out at our events
  • Our volunteers do all the flower arrangements and weeding all season to keep the site looking its best

We promote sport, fitness, culture and health in the community by running courses, classes and encouraging other community groups and clubs to use our facilities:

  • We provide land based and water based classes at many levels ie. circuits, swim fit, aqua, yoga, pilates, running
  • We provide specific sport competition opportunities for many levels ie. swimming, triathlon, aquathon
  • We provide a base for our local clubs to train ie Cheltenham Triathlon Club, Cheltenham Canoe Club, Cheltenham Swimming & Water Polo Club
  • Clubs from outside the area travel to us to train ie. Pershore Swimming Club juniors, Gloucester Masters seniors
  • We provide a venue for Duke of Edinburgh training
  • We provide a training facility for professional sports clubs ie Gloucester RC and Cheltenham Town FC
  • GE Aviation Systems ‘Health Ahead Day’ - promoting activities as an encouragement for GE employees to get involved and improve physical and mental health and wellbeing
  • We stage regular cultural events ie. theatre, cinema and music

We are recognised as being nationally significant. Our visitors come from afar and contribute to Cheltenham as a tourist venue:

  • We are on the national list of most important historic buildings. Historic England have given us a grade II listing status recognising our importance as a complete ensemble of lido buildings, together with our plant room that is uniquely important for its original machinery
  • We are the only official open air olympic sized 50m pool in the UK and were honoured to be used as a training facility for the 2012 Olympic Games
  • Cheltenham Swimming & Water Polo Club use the lido to stage local and national competitions, bringing visitors to Cheltenham from all over the UK
  • We are a certified training facility for the Royal Life Saving Society UK
  • We stage a hugely successful dog swim weekend which brings many visitors from all over the UK to Cheltenham.
  • We stage regular participative competitions, bringing many visitors to Cheltenham from all over the uk ie. marathon swim, triathlons, aquathons

We make a specific contribution to local and national health and wellbeing targets and are actively promoting the lido as a place to enhance our community’s health and wellbeing and offer activities supporting these benefits. We offer tailored programmes that we run for a specific audience and that support community development:

  • NHS skin care nurses provide healthcare advice and checks during the summer
  • Pilates
  • Pilates with baby
  • Aqua classes (low impact class for those who may not be able to partake in high impact activities
  • Baby and toddler swimming sessions in the small pool free of charge
  • Swimming lessons and Learn to swim courses for adults and children
  • Introduction to waterpolo for children
  • Free water safety talks for children
  • We offer private weekly swim session for people who attend Maggie’s plus reduced rates for patients)
  • Rookie Lifeguard course for children
  • National Pool Lifeguard Qualification
  • Emergency first aid at work
  • Save a Baby workshop.
  • We offer a private swimming session for those recovering from cancer treatment
  • We offer a safe environment for our community to sit quietly or to socialise. We have many people who come in almost every day who are lonely for a variety of reasons. Often, they are not here to swim but to be part of our community. We welcome them wholeheartedly

We have a positive relation with local and national organisations to help us towards being able to offer a full and inclusive facility and programme:

  • Active Gloucestershire
  • Community Leisure UK
  • Learning Disability Partnership Board
  • Sport England
  • Swim England
  • Historic England
  • Landscape Institute
  • Friends of Sandford Park

We offer outreach work to our community and many organisations:

  • We offer talks to many uniformed organisations and community groups giving them information about the lido and encouraging them to visit and come and train with us to become a lifeguard
  • We provide heritage tours to local organisations
  • We actively promote our heritage by taking part in the National Heritage Weekend
  • We are constantly being asked to share our experiences and advice within other organisations. We work with other lidos around the country, to share best practice and provide guidance
  • We are regularly asked to speak at national conferences.

We value our workforce team enormously and are committed to providing opportunities for young people in education and training:

  • We employ 84 part time staff and 6 full time
  • We provide a commitment to continuing professional development and training
  • We involve our team in decision making
  • We provide work placements for local schools, colleges and the National Star College
  • We work with Glos County Council Forwards Employment Service to provide employment opportunities to adults with additional needs
  • We run courses aimed specifically at young people such as the Rookie Lifeguard course
  • We provide opportunities for career progression and steps to employment. Many who attend here on work placement apply for a seasonal job. A number them work their way through the roles from being a general attendant through to lifeguard, then pool supervisor, duty manager and senior manager.
  • We employ a number of young people under the age of 18 who are carefully trained, nurtured and included in professional and social activities
  • We are about to embark on an apprenticeship training programme

The trustees of Sandford Parks Lido who run the facility are all volunteers. They contribute to the community by giving their time and skills free.