Please send me SCA's fortnightly briefing:

May 20, 2009

I’d swim a million metres…

Undaunted by the challenge of having to raise something in the region of £8.5 million, the campaigners who aim to have Govanhill Baths restored to their former glory have laid down another challenge to their supporters – to swim a million metres(that’s 40,000 lengths in old money)  in swimming pools all across Glasgow

CAMPAIGNERS hoping to reopen a Glasgow swimming pool have launched a million-metre long sponsored swim in aid of a million pound fundraising appeal.

Govanhill Baths Community Trust needs to raise £8.5million of the £12.5m required for the first phase to transform the decaying baths in Calder Street on Glasgow’s South Side.

The sponsored swim will be the first of its planned events aimed at raising the first million.

A million metres works out at 40,000 lengths of the average pool, which is 25m long.
Chairman Andrew Johnson said: “The idea was to keep within the baths theme and get people to swim in pools around the city. They can do the lengths whenever they like.

“We estimate we need up to 500 people who will swim anything from 100 lengths and more all the way down to two lengths.”

Organisers have invited politicians including Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon – who is the area’s MSP – as well as Shettleston MSP and pool supporter Frank McAveety to take part, as well as anyone who supports the pools reopening.

Plans include reopening all three swimming pools and adding a gym, sauna suite and a cafe serving healthy food.

Swimmers can choose to do any number of lengths and can do their challenge during May or June at any pool. A final push will be made on an official swimming day on June 21 at Bellahouston Leisure Centre.

The Trust has also written to Dragons’ Den star, millionaire Duncan Bannatyne to ask if he can help with its fundraising efforts.

Mr Johnson said: “We are waiting to hear from a number of people like that who have said they want to help good causes, especially those for young people.”

It also hopes to get £2m from Glasgow City Council and the same from the Scottish Government and will also apply for European and Lottery grants.

The facility was closed amid violent scenes in 2001 after being occupied by peaceful protesters for 140 days.

One of the activists, Danny Alderslowe, now Green councillor for Southside Central, has confirmed he’ll do the sponsored swim.

A planning application and business plan to transform the pool into a healthy living centre was submitted by the trust to Glasgow City Council in November.

A small cinema and theatre, community space and music rehearsal rooms could also be created in the building, which opened in 1917.

Sponsorship forms for the swim are available from Govanhill Baths Charity Shop at 73 Calder Street, by calling 0141 423 8705 or