From this coming Saturday (1st May 2021), swimming at all ponds will require pre-booking for all but the first and last slots of the day which will remain "free flow" as they currently are. The booking system is the same as the one in place last summer, however, there are a few differences, including that you may now use your season ticket to book your swim.
Whilst Covid is still a threat (even when restrictions are lifted) some restrictions/booking arrangements will remain in place for all of 2021, but we anticipate that there will be tweaks as the year continues and weather changes.
Below is a summary of the arrangements effective from 1st May with links to relevant places for more detailed information. Full details from the City Of London are available here.
SWIM SESSION TIMINGS (from 1st May)
A telephone booking line is available at 020 7332 3779 (Monday to Friday) for swimmers who have no internet access or who find this system difficult to use. Please forward this information to any swimmer you know who may be unable to book online.
IMPORTANT EXTRA INFORMATION
With a limit of 40 people at any one time/session in the Mixed Pond, it is important that people are aware of the booking and cancellation policies (which may be subject to change); this will help maximise use and minimise wasted bookings (and money). We are also keen to retain some feeling of spontaneity for swimming so if you can take note of the following that will help.
Mixed Pond Public Swimming
Re-Opens 29th March 2021
Exciting news for all Mixed Pond swimmers, we are now less than 2 weeks away from outdoor swimming being permitted under Covid restrictions AND, the Mixed Pond will be opening to the public at 7am on Monday, 29th March 2021.
This is about 6 weeks earlier than normal and the Mixed Pond will also be staying open and lifeguarded until 31st October. PLUS (yes, there is more good news) the opening hours of the Mixed Pond will fall in line with the other ponds on the Heath which means it will be open later than usual during the summer months.
Swimming Season Tickets
Everyone (including Mixed Pond Association members) has to pay to swim. Pre-booking details are not yet confirmed, but we believe there will be no need to book your session until early May. Until then, there will be timed swim sessions as per last year, but you can (subject to numbers of swimmers) turn up and pay or scan your season ticket.
Swimming Season Tickets are now back on sale so, if you want to make the most of your swims this year then visit the link below. If there are any Covid related suspensions of swimming then your ticket will be extended.
Update Regarding Swim Charges
Whilst the Mixed Pond Association does not agree with the enforced charging that was introduced last year, fighting this has so far been futile, and this year prices have generally increased by 1.3% (inflationary increase) with higher increases for concessionary tickets to bring them in line with the 40% discount given to other sporting facilities on the Heath.
As a committee, continue to work with the other pond associations to find ways to overturn this policy and a joint group consisting of members from each of the swim groups continues to investigate options and is also looking at getting the City to improve the scope of the "hardship fund" that was set-up.
If you have specific feedback regarding the charges then please get in touch with us by replying to this email.
If you are, or would like to become, a regular pond swimmer and are struggling with the charges then we recommend you approach the management team at Hampstead Heath by emailing email@example.com, and also feel free to contact the MPA directly (and in confidence) as we will try to help you. We want to do as much as we can to ensure swimming remains inclusive and affordable in these difficult times.
Other Important Information for Heath Swimmers in 2021
What We Know So Far
(Subject to change).
The Annual General Meeting of the Mixed Pond Association took place (on Zoom) on 9th November 2020.
The full set of minutes can be read via the button below.
Any questions can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org
The Mixed Pond is now closed to public swimming until Sprint 2021. Look out for details of the re-opening in the New Year.
As we get ever closer to Autumn there is finally have some good news for swimmers in the latest set of changes that are due to be implemented at the ponds over the coming weeks.
The official pond group committees have been continually discussing the best way whist also trying to “discourage” the City Of London (CoL) from continuing with their new charging plans.
Unfortunately, with regard to the compulsory charges, no progress is being made; however, we will continue to do what we can and to also support and promote the activities of other groups where appropriate and in line with our own views regarding the unfair charges.
On to better news (for cold water swimmers at least), draft proposals for the coming Winter Swimming season have been released. Whilst these may be subject to change, the swim groups have had an input and have been able to change a few aspects, these are now close to what will be implemented. This is of course also subject to Covid regulations and restrictions not changing locally or nationally.
The full CoL Winter Swimming details can be found in this document giving a detailed picture of what is happening at each pond and the Lido.
The following is a summary of the key changes:
Until Sunday, 25th October 2020 (Yes, a month later than usual):
From Monday, 21st September 2020:
As part of the review of charges, the CoL agreed to set up a Hardship Fund to enable groups of users excluded by the compulsory charges to continue to swim on the Heath. This second document outlines the CoL’s proposed "Support Scheme" as it currently stands.
The Mixed Pond Association have highlighted the clear inadequacy of these proposals. We feel they offer negligible support to many of the most vulnerable groups which will no doubt need more support and help than ever now. Seeking support is overly complex and there is also no direct support being offered at all.
We will continue to make additional suggestions to CoL to try to work with them to find a better way of supporting swimmers.
In the meantime, if you know of anyone who needs support (or help with online bookings or season ticket purchases when live) then we strongly recommend they get in touch directly with the CoL to seek assistance by emailing HHemail@example.com or call the specific helpline (only open Mon-Fri, 9:00 to 11:00am) on 020 7332 3779.
Also, whilst we appreciate this is a sensitive area, the Mixed Pond Association are happy to try to help those people who need it by working with them and the CoL if required. Feel free to contact us in confidence if you are seeking advice on how to get financial support from the CoL for your swimming.
We will send out more information and updates as soon as we have it confirmed.
Mixed Pond Association
Heath swimming to start again (after a brief opening and then closing) on Saturday 18th July 2020.
Read the latest update here