Community

Byrne Avenue Trust

Byrne Avenue Trust was established in 2016 to save, restore and re-open Byrne Avenue Baths, a Grade II listed 1930s swimming pool complex in the heart of Rock Ferry, Birkenhead which closed in 2008.

Rock Ferry is in the 10% most deprived areas of the UK and is characterised by high unemployment, low educational attainment, the level of children living in poverty is double the national average and there is a lack of community spaces.  Byrne Avenue Baths was built at a time when Birkenhead had the highest unemployment rates in England and many people lacked bathrooms or indoor toilets, both of which were provided within the complex.

After the Baths were closed by Wirral Council, over 2,000 members of the local community signed a petition to save the building and subsequently formed Byrne Avenue Trust which took over the building under community asset transfer from the local council.  Having been closed for almost 10 years, the building suffered from weather damage and vandalism, leaving it in a very poor state of repair.  With the help of a growing number of volunteers, the Trust has worked hard to make the building watertight and applied to the Foundation to help kick-start their restoration project.

Byrne Avenue Trust were able to demonstrate that the local community is committed to the project due to the growing number of volunteers, interest in using spaces from local groups (including firm bookings before the complex was even open!) and from the success of a local crowdfunding campaign.  The Trust shared their sound business plan and financial projections with the Foundation Trustees who were delighted to make a major grant to help them start the restoration project so that they can open the building and start generating income whilst providing a vital local community resource.

“We are so grateful to the Garfield Weston Foundation. Their funding means that we can start work on restoring the entrance and refurbishing the ticket office. This is a significant step towards opening the building later in the year. It has also helped us to gain funding from other local and national funders.”  Ben Harrison, Chair Byrne Avenue Trust