Jubilee Pool Penzance is a Community Benefit Society that operates Jubilee Pool, one of the last remaining salt-water lidos in Europe and best example of a post-war lido in the world. Opened in 1935, it is a beautiful Art Deco outdoor pool positioned along the Penzance coastline looking out to the Cornish seas. However in 2014, the lido suffered terrible structural damage due to disastrous storms and under-funding leaving it dilapidated and run down. A group of local people formed Jubilee Pool Penzance and raised funding and support to restore it and in 2016, it reopened as the ‘jewel in Penzance’s crown’ once again.

Since being established as a Community Benefit Society in 2017, Jubilee Pool Penzance’s priority has been to improve the sustainability of the pool, so they decided to make the pool usable all year round by drilling a 400-metre-deep geothermal well to heat a section of the pool to 35 degrees. The project will also have a new café and community space to generate income for the pool.

How did they do it?

In 2014 after the worst of the storms put the pool out of action, Jubilee Pool Penzance started a campaign to ensure adequate repairs be made and persuaded local stakeholders and the wider community alongside Cornwall Council and other local councillors to support them. Through the Coastal Communities Fund, alongside match funding from various partners, they raised a total of £2.94 million enabling the complete refurbishment of Jubilee Pool. They applied to the Power to Change Community Shares Booster programme to raise money from their local community and received a match-fund of £100,000.

The Booster Panel were inspired by the application, but before awarding investment the project received additional Booster support from a Locality Development Officer who visited the site and worked with the Jubilee Pool Penzance team on the businesses forecasts and expenditure plans.

The share offer went on to be a huge success, with investments from as little as £20, raising £538,680 from over 1,380 community investors and £100,000 from the Booster. By the time the share offer closed in October 2018 it had also received equity investment from Big Society Capital.

How is it community led?

Established as a Community Benefit Society through the Friends of Jubilee Pool, the new organisation ensures all profits from the pool’s and café’s activities contribute to the future operation of the pool. Through the community share offer, all community investors have an equal stake regardless of how much they invested, enabling a fair and democratic voting process where everyone has a say in the future direction and strategy of the pool and the chance to stand for the Board.

What is their social impact?

Not only will the pool provide new permanent and part-time jobs, Penzance residents will also benefit from 20% discount entry prices as well as special free-to-use sessions targeted at young people, the elderly, disabled, disadvantaged and people living in Penzance’s most deprived areas through a health care professional referral scheme. Alongside the well known mental and physical health benefits of swimming, Jubilee Pool tackles isolation and depression by serving as a community hub, where local people can meet and engage with each other.

The pool is a remarkable facility providing safe seawater bathing for all ages; a unique modernist building of international architectural importance; a tourist attraction in its own right; and now, it’s set to provide a catalyst for the future economic regeneration of Penzance.