Volunteers running Portsmouth pool say lessons have been learned

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VOLUNTEERS running the Hilsea Splashpool say lessons had been learned following complaints from the public.

The facility – run by Hilsea Lido Pool for the People Trust – opened in June.

But heavy downpours meant it remained largely unused until the start of this week when temperatures soared and hundreds of families hit the splashpool.

The sudden increase in visitors threw volunteers into the deep end and they admit some of it has been a challenging learning curve.

Messages posted on the lido’s Facebook page talk of waterlogged toilet floors, litter and teenagers using the splashpool which is aimed at children under the age of eight.

Sabrina Richards, the trust’s chairwoman, says improvements have already been made, including installing more bins and more frequent mopping of toilet floors.

She said: ‘The taps are too high for the children so they spill a lot of water when they try to fill up their water pistols and their feet are wet from being in the pool.

‘The first few days the floors were swimming because of this but we’re trying to keep an eye on that and manage it the best we can.’ In response to behaviour on the site, the trust’s vice chairman, Helen Downing-Emms, says rather than imposing rules or booting people out, they are trying to encourage older children to respect the site.

‘If we see any kids misbehaving we speak to them and to their families and ask them to calm down,’ she said. ‘Most of them have been quite understanding and changed their behaviour.

‘The splashpool is only supposed to be for kids under eight, but we recognise that families come in all shapes and sizes and often there will be older ones here with the younger ones. We don’t want to start turning people away because of their age – that would just create more problems.’

She added: ‘A lot of it has been trial and error because, even though the splashpool has been open since the beginning of the month, there has been very little usage of it until we got this weather. Then all of a sudden we had hundreds of people here. We’re all volunteers here and we don’t have much experience running something like this – it’s been challenging.’

The trust is currently working on restoring the Hilsea Lido to be reopened for public swimming.