SOUTH WOODFORD: School turns to community in bid to modernise swimming pool

Oakdale Junior School Headteacher Linda Snow

Oakdale Junior School Headteacher Linda Snow

First published in Your Local Areas East London and West Essex Guardian Series: Photograph of the Author by , Senior reporter

A SCHOOL is appealing to local businesses to help modernise a swimming pool so it can stay open all year round.

The outdoor pool at Oakdale Junior School in South Woodford was built at the same time as the school itself in 1952.

It is currently covered by a corrugated plastic roof and enclosed by walls covered in the same material.

But during the winter months it has to close because it is too cold to use, and yesterday (May 1), it had to close because the electricity system shorted.

Headteacher Linda Snow said: “We are trying to raise £30,000 so we can insulate the pool.

“At the moment we can only open it between April and October.

“Understandably, Redbridge Council have other priorities with their budgets so we are asking local people and businesses to help out.”

Replacing the current roof and walls would allow the pool to stay open all year round.

Kerry Lofts, Co-chair of the school’s PTA, said: “By updating the pool we will be able to ensure our children are given one swimming lesson every week.

“We will also open the pool to other local schools, including Oakdale infants, our children’s centre, for baby and toddler sessions, along with Hatton Special School.”

Pankaj Pathak, 43, who has two children at the school, urged people to help out.

He said: “The pool is extremely valuable and a much loved resource.

“I think we are the only junior school in Redbridge to have one.

“Donations straight to the school are always valuable, but we have also asked local businesses to help out and there will be lots of PTA run events to help raise funds.”

Oakdale borders the old Dairycrest building on Chigwell Road which has been earmarked for a 68-house development by Taylor Wimpey.

The school could receive some funds from the developer as part of the contribution it will be required to make to the local infrastructure and amenities.

Mrs Snow said: “It would be nice if we received some sort of financial support from them, but I don’t think any money could go towards the pool.”

Waqa Ahmed, 42, who owns Touch of Class Dry Cleaners on George Lane, said: “I have been in business in South Woodford for 11 years and I will always do anything I can to help local schools.

“I know many other businesses feel the same way.

“Hopefully we can all do our bit to keep this pool open.”

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