Following its latest tranche of grant applications, Guernsey Community Foundation has donated £25,000 to Vive La Vallette.
Vive La Vallette is the Guernsey charity that has pledged to redevelop La Vallette kiosk, amenities and the adjoining mound at St Peter Port's coastal bathing pools – one of six initial sites identified as part of the States' Seafront Enhancement Area Programme.
In 2019, Vive La Vallette was announced as the preferred bidder for the first site to be redeveloped under the programme. Since then, the charity has completed its negotiations with the States, finalised architectural designs, obtained planning permission, and successfully started its fundraising programme.
Due to the Vive La Vallette bid's success, the States of Guernsey has committed to the long-term maintenance of the historic ladies' and children's pools.
Jim Roberts, Chief Executive of the Foundation, said that the Foundation was keen to support this great legacy project. The team behind Vive La Vallette showed the Foundation how they intend for the new development to be an asset for the whole community to enjoy, with the new-look building providing accessible space, shelter and facilities for young and old alike. It's well-established that cold water swimming provides huge benefits to an individual's physical and mental wellbeing, and we're pleased to be able to support a project that puts health and happiness at its core, he said.
Helen Bonner-Morgan, Vive La Vallette community lead said: We would like to thank the Foundation for its generous donation. Although our fundraising is ongoing, because we have now secured well over half the required amount needed for this project, we are now able to begin the work, which is a fantastic step forwards.
The charity needs to raise £1.5m to complete the project and has already secured nearly £900,000 of this sum from public and private donations. Building work will commence in January 2021. It is anticipated that the first stage of the £1.5m project, the new café, community function space and changing rooms, will be completed by spring 2022.
A temporary changing facility has already been installed for the continued use of the existing key holders (Friends of Vallette) to minimise any disruption to these regular swimmers.
Mrs Bonner-Morgan said: The pools are a much-loved part of the island's community, with swimmers of all ages getting pleasure from the water throughout the year. In just over a year's time, islanders and visitors will be able to enjoy a brand-new all-access facility 365-days-a-year. We hope that the facilities will become a valuable asset for Guernsey's social and business community, with other charities, clubs, associations, corporates and special interest groups using the space.
Mr Roberts said: Vive La Vallette shows the breadth of the Foundation's grant-giving programme. We’re interested in any not-for-profit endeavour that will benefit islanders and enhance the island’s quality of life. We would encourage any voluntary organisation or registered charity to come and talk to us.
The Foundation's Grants Panel considers multiple applications all year round. Applications should be for a minimum of £5,000 and can be accepted at any time during the year.