When it comes to complex projects, developing the Tynemouth Outdoor Pool site is up there with the best of them.

That’s because most capital investment projects of this size and scale generally have the funding in place BEFORE they begin. However, we’re doing things a little differently. Being a tiny charity, we can’t feasibly pull £5m or so together in one chunk, so we’re relying on whatever funds come in (donations, smaller grants, etc) to chip away at preliminary work and essential tasks as soon as they present themselves.

Getting this nitty gritty work out of the way helps pave the way for larger funders to get involved, demonstrates that we’re confident that we will ultimately succeed, and makes the whole project much more of a viable and attractive proposition for anyone who wants to get involved.

We also have a critical balancing act to do in terms of spending the funds we’re raising, and lots of questions to ask ourselves as we go along. For example, one that cropped up recently was: do we spend the funds that are available to us right now on developing our funding strategy further, or do we spend it on something time-sensitive such as an on-site wintering birds study?

Both are essential to the project, but we may not have the funds to do both – that’s the kind of decision-making we’re having to do on an almost daily basis.

how much will it cost?

Given the constraints of finding large pots of money in the current financial climate, we’ve split the project into 3 sensible – and financially achievable – phases:

  • Phase One – this involves the refurbishment of the pool, and is our main raison d’etre. It involves bringing the pool back into use, filling it with warm water (ideally heated using geothermal energy) and ultimately tidying up that horrible mess at the end of our beach. The cost? A little over £3M.
  • Phase Two – this involves establishing the lower part of the adjacent buildings which will most likely comprise of permanent changing rooms and a cafe. The cost? Another £3m.
  • Phase Three – finally, the bulk of this phase involves finishing the adjacent building with second floor that could house anything from a gym to a restaurant. The cost? Around £1.75m.

So how much have you raised so far?

That’s the killer question – and if we had a quid for every time someone asked us this, we’d almost have enough to fund the entire project!

As we’ve said, a community-driven project like this requires a complex mix of funding, which could include everything from grants and awards, through to public fundraising initiatives. We’ve had positive talks with lots of funders, from Heritage Lottery to Sport England and more funds are coming online soon, like the Coastal Communities Fund, which we’ll be applying for this year. We’re also planning to engage the community a lot more in terms of fundraising and we have lots of ideas for this up our collective sleeves.

In terms of ‘how far’ we are, this is a tricky one to reply to.

The short answer is about £100,000 which includes revenue from events, sales of merchandise and donations from the public, plus £90,000 from the Coastal Revival Fund in two separate funding rounds. However, what this figure doesn’t include is an additional estimated £100k of pro bono work that has already gone into the project – which means we could realistically claim that the equivalent of nearly £300k has already been spent.

The slightly more technical answer is ‘enough to cover pre-planning application requirements but nothing yet towards construction costs’!

Watch this space!