Social enterprise secures £250,000 for Edwardian baths

Bramley Baths in Leeds
Bramley Baths in Leeds
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An Edwardian swimming pool has received a £250,000 grant to modernise its grade two listed building.

Originally opened in 1904 as a place for local people to enjoy washing facilities, Bramley Baths in Leeds was reinvented in 2013 as a community-led social enterprise, with the facilities transferred from Leeds City Council to a new management team.

Consultancy firm WSP agreed to work with Bramley Baths as a pro-bono project assisting the management team with a national Power2Change funding bid.

This would allow significant renovations to the Edwardian building, including modernising equipment, reducing power consumption and emissions and, overall, improving the sustainability of the facility.

The team had to submit a detailed bid and meet stringent criteria to qualify for the grant from Power2Change, which holds the purse strings to a £150m endowment from Big Lottery Fund.

The funding will be used to provide a new pool plant, with a new filtration system, pipework and valves; new air handling units on the poolside and a new air conditioning system in the gym and studio.

Bramley Baths chief executive Sue Stones said the investment will replace the existing ageing machinery and hopes it will reduce to ‘practically zero’ the number of pool closures due to technical problems.

She said: “This investment will ensure we can continue to provide services to the community for many years to come. WSP supported us in this crucial bid and we are all delighted with the outcome.”

Kirk Buxton, WSP senior engineer of building services, provided a thorough assessment of existing plant and equipment at the Baths, and advice on potential solutions to facilitate the eco-hub which will ensure the baths meets one of its key objectives: to become a sustainable community enterprise.

WSP associate director Cassie Fountain, who also worked on the project, added: “This was a wonderful project to work on and it was great to be involved and celebrate the bid’s success with the team. Not only does it give financial support to an important and historical facility it also helps secure the future of Bramley Baths as a hub for health and well-being in the local community.”