Wragby Swimming Pool is ‘thriving’ and no longer under threat of closure – but the manger who turned it around says she still ‘cannot get away’ from ‘heartbreaking’ tales it could shut.
Davina Ness made it her ‘personal goal’ to transform the charitable community pool when she took over as manager five years ago.
Her five-strong team now teaches more than 200 children every week and even has a waiting list for some lessons.
But not everyone is aware of the success story.
Davina, who worked as the pool receptionist for five years before becoming manager, said: “For a long time all people heard was ‘the pool will close if you don’t take action now’.
“And I still can’t get away from that, even now. It’s heartbreaking, it’s just not like that anymore.
“The success of the pool is down to how good our lessons are – without the lessons we might still be struggling.
“It’s developing good lessons that’s helped to turn the pool around.
“We’ve had it re-tiled, put in lockers and made improvements to the building.
“I saw how things could be done differently by putting ideas into practise and not just talking about them
“The turning point was two years ago, which was when I had the floor tiled and had money in the kitty to pay for it.
“I thought: ‘we’ve turned this around, haven’t we, we’ve done this’.
“It’s right up there at the top of the list for me, taking over as manager and making a success of the pool was a personal goal for myself.
“It was personal to me to do this for the community.
“I was not confident at the start – I asked so many people for help.
“It was a huge learning curve.”
Davina said she and her team now organise fundraisers such as sponsored swims to support the pool and make the children ‘feel proud’ when they get a certificate.
She lives in Wragby and says it would not be possible to do her job if she lived anywhere else.
“I couldn’t run the pool like I do if I didn’t live here.
“This morning I started at 6am and probably won’t be home until 7.30pm or 8pm.
“I thrive on it,” Davina said.
And it would appear pool users are very happy too. Chris Baggley, from Horncastle, who takes his grandchildren to the pool, said: “We love the pool. It’s very friendly, particularly the staff.”
And Davina’s message for anyone who has not paid a recent visit: “Come and try it for yourself and then make up your mind...I’ve said that lots of times to lots of different people.”
Discussing a residents’ petition for a pool to be built at the new Market Rasen leisure centre, Davina said: “I understand how everyone would love to have a swimming pool on their doorstep rather than having to get into the car –there’s something nice about leaving the car behind.
“I also understand why it’s so hard to get a new pool off the ground these days.
“People said it’ll hurt your pool if it ever does go ahead. Yes, it would... but it won’t be the end of our pool.
“I’m the sort of person who will look at things from both sides.”