Ballinakill outdoor pool
The newly renovated Ballinakill outdoor pool in Laois couldn't have had a better start to their summer with the sunshine, but there is one big fly in the ointment.
The community pool's committee has made a public plea to its customers to please show up if they book a swim.
They have been hit by 'no-shows' meaning the pool which is at low capacity already for Covid safety, is taking in even less cash to cover costs such as lifeguards, insurance and water heating.
They charge just €5 for an hour's swim under the glorious blue sky, and have an online pre-booking system to ensure numbers, with customers then paying when they arrive.
"The swimming pool is very close to the hearts of everybody in Ballinakill and it is open now because of the dedication of our committee and the support of the community. We spent many hours trying to put systems in place to keep everybody safe, maximise opening hours and keep to the guidelines of dealing with Covid- 19.
"The ones which caused greatest difficulty for us and were the booking system and pool capacity. It is now these two things which are causing difficulty in meeting the demands of our patrons - especially in weather such as we have at the moment.
"We had serious concerns regarding what is now the "no show" reality but other factors had to be considered when selecting the system.
"It is both disappointing and upsetting for us to have to reply to the huge number of calls, messages and emails we receive throughout the day and night with "sorry, we are fully booked" and then realise that not all the bookings were fulfilled.
"We can only ask and emphasise the importance of making an accurate booking and cancelling it if, for whatever reason, you decide not to come to the pool," the committee say.
The volunteers are also trying to get the word out that their adult only swims are at 9am on Monday and Wednesday, and 8pm on Tuesday and Friday.
"The demand for lessons and group bookings is also unprecedented and we are working hard to to facilitate everybody and reply to queries as timely as is possible.
"Covid continues to be a worry and we ask that you continue to adhere to 'social distancing' while queuing and on deck and to respect the requirements of the changing rooms being closed.
"The difficulties we have regarding demand would probably be resolved by a few wet days, but we certainly won't wish for that!
"The most rewarding part of our work is seeing and hearing the excitement and happiness of a busy pool and we appreciate the huge support we are getting from so many of you," they committee say, signing off as Paddy M, James, Kathleen, Sandra, Joan, Mick, Aoife, Paddy K, Declan, Emma, Ann, Bernie and Liz.
Ballinakill swimming pool is the only 30 metre pool in Laois, with a second toddler pool. They committee has received Government funding to add on a carpark and playground too, with work already underway.
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