Cardigan Swimming Pool

Cardigan Swimming Pool is more than just a pool and over the past four decades has become a hub of community life. Run by a Charitable Trust, the pool is used by a wide range of local residents of all ages, across a wide geographical area in West Wales. There are groups run within the pool which offer something for toddlers right through to retirees, as well as the local schools using the facility (which includes a gym and fitness hall) for lessons.

However the facilities were outdated, and needed renovation and revitalising to make it fit for purpose for today’s users, including installing disabled access changing facilities. Staff changes and an expanded Board of Trustees coming into the Trust from 4 to 11, also meant that some project planning needed to be done and the business plan needed revisiting, as well as support to identify funding and help to complete any subsequent applications.


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The new Board of Trustees who relaunched the pool on 2nd April 2016 were the main people involved. There are 11 Members of the Board, and a new part time Manager. The main contact was Sharon Griffiths.

They were assisted by their Village SOS Mentor, Jane O’Brien, appointed by DTA Wales (one of the local delivery partners for Village SOS in Wales).

Action taken with VSOS support:

  • A funding search to identify appropriate funding for the capital works
  • Support to identify best practice among other community owned and run swimming pools and leisure facilities
  • Signposting onto Wales Cooperative Centre for support with their business plan
  • Support to make an Expression of Interest to the Rural Community Development Fund
  • Attendance at the Village SOS networking event in Wrexham on 23rd June 2016.
Funding the project

The Trustees and staff identified funding from the Rural Community Development Fund (RCDF) in Ceredigion for the capital elements of the project – namely for the installation of energy efficiency and renewable technologies; and also improvement of access for disabled/older people. Once the funding had been identified, the Village SOS mentor helped the group to prepare an Expression of Interest.

The group has also applied to the M & S Energy Fund competition for finance to install solar PV and fund the splash running costs. Solar PV in the building will improve their energy efficiency and reduce their overall running costs. After attending the Village SOS Networking event in June 2016 in Wrexham, the group are now considering alternative ways of raising funds, such as crowdsource funding and / or a community share offer.

The expression of interest for the RCDF was successful and a full bid for £128,000 has been prepared. The group has been linked into the Wales Co-operative Centre’s Social Business Wales Programme of support, and is looking to find out more about Community Shares Wales Programme (funded by the Big Lottery Wales). Attending the Village SOS event was also very positive and the group came back enthused, having met others who had achieved so much. They made useful links with other projects including Wrexham Leisure Centre whom they plan to follow up with by visiting this Centre, which has
successfully attracted funding and has had a complete refurbishment. They also plan to visit Narberth Pool, a smaller but also successful community pool.

Learning from others and accessing additional support
  • The group has received peer support and mentoring from Renew Wales Programme.
  • The group is applying for funding from the Rural Community Development Fund and M & S Energy Fund.
  • The group is receiving support to update its business plan from Wales Co-operative Centre and the Social Business Wales Programme.