Exciting News!

Published on


Hello everyone!

I am delighted to share with you a couple of milestones …

Firstly, since our last update to you, we have been registered by the Charities Commission and our number is 1023994!  Having a registered number for our charity will help some Grant funding applications and will enable us to procure some free online applications we will need to use.

Secondly, the Governors of Testbourne Community School have given us their approval for us to take on a long lease for the operation of the swimming pool for public use! 

However, the school Governors have since been informed by Hampshire County Council Legal Services that the granting of a long-term lease will be regarded as a ‘disposal of publicly funded land’, (as detailed in a 72 page guidance document issued by the Department for Education in September 2021) and the swimming pool and its enclosed area is classified as ‘playing field land’.  (This came into force because it became apparent that too many schools were selling of ‘playing field’ land’ to gain funds.)  As such, the governing body are required to submit a formal detailed application to the Department for Education, for consideration by The School Playing Field Advisory Panel and approval by the Secretary of State. 

Yes, I know it seems bonkers because it’s a swimming pool and not a playing field but because it’s an outdoor swimming pool, it is categorised as a ‘playing field land’.   This has taken the Testbourne Governors by surprise, and we are doing what we can to help them prepare their submission to gain the approval needed.  Please bear in mind that neither the Governors nor ourselves have any idea how long this process will take, especially as there are a number of different departments involved.

Both the school Governors and we believe, on this occasion, that it makes no sense for this not to be approved as we would be taking something not currently in use and making it operational, for the benefit of the whole community as well as students who attend the school (although not for school lesson use).  As we all know though, you can’t second guess the Government, but we are very optimistic of gaining approval.

Meanwhile, we will enter into Lease negotiations with the school Governors, and we are applying for Grant Funding from various sources.  You have so far supported us to raise a huge amount of money, for which we are incredibly humbled, but we need to install toilet, hand wash and outdoor shower facilities and that doesn’t come cheap so we will continue our fundraising efforts to ensure that we are in a good position to do all we need to get the pool open as soon as we can, although that won’t be this year.   

Please do come and take part in our events; it will be lovely to meet you.  There are usually some lovely raffle prizes available (we are always looking for more raffle prizes please!).  Have a lovely summer and if you’re around, come and join in some of our fun events!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *