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Community award from Engage Foundation ensures local pool stays afloat

Posted in: Foundation Last updated: 24 Jul 2014

A swimming pool at the heart of the Stamford Bridge community has received a £5,000 funding boost from the Engage Foundation.

Stamford Bridge Community Swimming Pool, which was threatened with closure due to an aging oil tank on the site, has won a £5,000 award from Engage Mutual to ensure its replacement and keep the facility open. The pool is particularly important to the community as it was created following a tragic accident some years ago in which a local child drowned in the river which runs through the village. It has remained an important asset to the school and the community ever since, ensuring that every child in Stamford Bridge can learn to swim in a safe environment.

Engage Mutual customer, Ben Whittaker, applied for the funding from the mutual’s Foundation which has set aside £1m as an exclusive benefit for its customers to make their lives and communities better. Although only Engage Mutual customers can nominate a community project for funding from the Engage Foundation, the public are encouraged to show their support via an online vote, with winning projects decided by the highest number of votes.

Ben, whose wife is a committee member for the pool said: “When I applied for the community award, it never occurred to me that we would win. We really can’t thank Engage enough. They have kept all project owners fully informed throughout the process, really helping to keep the project going.”

Hilary Saynor, Chairperson for the club added, “Stamford Bridge Community pool has been open for 30 years and in that time we have taught hundreds of children to swim, as well as offering a wonderful space for families, adults and the elderly to enjoy a few lengths.

“The pool is at the very heart of our community – whether it is the older generation coming together or the celebration of a children’s birthday with a swim party – this place offers so much more to people than just a place to exercise.

“Our pool is run by local volunteers and relies on donations from our fundraising efforts to keep it operating. We even have one of our local boys, Josh Smithson, who learnt to swim in our pool many years ago and now at the age of 18, is a fully trained lifeguard who volunteers his time to ensure the safety of the next generation of swimmers. When we were faced with the prospect of a huge bill to replace the oil tank, we knew we had a big task on our hands. Luckily, our friend Ben came to the rescue by spotting the opportunity presented by Engage Mutual. We knew the competition for these grants would be tough, so we did our utmost to spread the word. So many people got behind us for which we’re truly grateful, and we feel blessed to be one of the winners. Now the pool can remain open, which is a priceless gift for our community.”

As a mutual organisation, Engage is owned by, and run for, its customers. The Engage Foundation was set up to provide customers like Ben with personal grants and awards for community projects. Customers can apply to help what matters to them in their corner of the world (the communities in which they live).  All customers need to do to be considered, is apply. The funding pot is made possible due to the financial stability of the customer-owned organisation which provides life and health insurance, and a variety of savings products.

Anna Drabble, Head of Community at Engage Mutual said: “When we set up the Engage Foundation earlier on in the year we did so with one overriding objective: to enable customers to benefit from the financial success of their business. We think it’s great to be able to help a community project or a good cause that our customers feel passionate about. We’re very much looking forward to seeing the finished work funded by the £5,000 grant and wish everyone at Stamford Bridge Community Pool all the very best.”