Making a splash for sixty years

September 30 2021

Generations of local children have learned to swim at Soundwell Baths since it opened 60 years ago.

Mark Crutchley, chief executive of Circadian Trust and Councillor Ruth Davis, chair of South Gloucestershire Council, celebrate the diamond anniversary of Kingswood Active Leisure Centre with councillors and staff and trustees of Circadian Trust

Mark Crutchley, chief executive of Circadian Trust and Councillor Ruth Davis, chair of South Gloucestershire Council, celebrate the diamond anniversary of Kingswood Active Leisure Centre with councillors and staff and trustees of Circadian Trust 

The pool, now known as Kingswood Active Leisure Centre, celebrates its diamond jubilee this year.

Among the guests at the anniversary event last month was Sue Green who has worked at the centre 33 years, initially as a fitness instructor and now behind reception.  

She said: “Many things have changed – before we had computers everything was done with a pencil and paper , so there were quite a lot of double bookings because the pencil would fade so quickly.  But what hasn’t changed is the fact that we’re like one big family, all the staff get on really well and our customers are just lovely.   Many of them have been coming for years and are now bringing their grandchildren along.”

Mark Crutchley, chief executive of Circadian Trust, which runs the centre, said: “Kingswood is the oldest facility we have in our portfolio of five centres across South Gloucestershire, but probably one of our most loved just because it has been a feature in the community for such a long time.  It has really transformed over the years but remains very much part of the local area.  We have customers who are bringing their children and grandchildren to the swimming lessons they attended as a child.”

Since the trust, a not for profit organisation, took over the running of the centre in 2005, it has made considerable investment into the facilities including:

• 2010:  a £2.6m facelift, in partnership with South Gloucestershire Council, which included a new gym, refurbished pool and viewing area and new reception area.

• 2012:  a new softplay facility for its younger customers.

• 2020: a complete refurbishment of the pool’s diving boards.

In 2021, despite lockdowns, the centre achieved a ‘Very Good’ score from Sport national quality scheme for sport and leisure, Quest, for the role it plays in the local community.

The centre in Church Road has a team of 50 staff and sees more than half a million customers using its facilities each year. 

It reopened all its facilities after the Covid-19 emergency in July this year.