MORE lifeguards are needed to help Hilsea Lido make a big comeback.
Its owners had hoped to offer public swimming sessions again from the end of this May.
But nothing has happened yet because there’s only three qualified lifeguards on the books, and they need more training.
Ideally, five more lifeguards need to be recruited to deal with situations that may arise with swimmers in the 4.5m deep outdoor pool.
As reported, Hilsea Lido Pool for the People Trust took over the venue from the city council in 2010 and has been working tirelessly since to get it re-opened. The lido has been closed for six years because of issues with funding and getting the place back up to a good standard.
Helen Downing-Emms, the trust’s vice-chairwoman, said it was hugely important people came forward in order to help make the lido a success again.
She said: ‘We have some lifeguards but we need more and they need to be qualified.
‘We would have been open by now if we had enough lifeguards. We need them to get the pool open.
‘We are being inundated with people asking whether the lido has opened yet.
‘People are disappointed and can’t understand why they are not in there yet.
‘A lot of people still don’t realise that the lido is not owned or supported by the local authority.
‘If we had the funding then we would have taken on people who weren’t qualified and taken them through the qualification process and training a while ago.’
The lifeguards already hired are being given extra training by a Royal Navy representative who has given up his time for free.
Portsmouth North MP Penny Mordaunt donated £10,000 to the lido trust after appearing on TV programme Splash!
She said: ‘There are so many people in the city who want to use it over the summer and without those lifeguards on duty, they won’t be able to. I would ask anyone who might consider stepping up to do so – they’d not only be doing those swimmers a great service, but also their city, too.’
Hilsea Councillor Alistair Thompson said: ‘If we can’t re-open it, there is a real danger that it would be lost to future generations.’
Visit hilsea-lido.org.uk or get in touch through the trust’s Facebook page.