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
We are pleased to be able to let you know that the Heath swimming facilities will begin a phased re-opening this weekend (11th July 2020) initially with just a couple of early morning one hour sessions at each location (increasing number of daily sessions over the coming days/weeks). Pond swims are restricted to adults only until further notice.
Mixed Pond swims are limited to 20 swimmers per session and there are only 165 swimming slots available per session in total across the three ponds and the Lido. This means demand will be very high (so get your goggles on quick)!.
ALL SWIMS MUST BE BOOKED ON LINE IN ADVANCE - NO SLOTS AVAILABLE ON THE DOOR
Please read all the detailed instructions on the ticket website and if you have issues or comments then please email the City of London directly (firstname.lastname@example.org).
You can view all the available swim slots from the link below and then select the location and session you want to book for.
BOOK A SWIM NOW
For now, bookings for each day will be open to the public for sale at noon of the day before the session. The release time is likely to change so keep an eye out for updates and more slots being available on the booking website.
Full details from the CoL can be found here too.
Note: You may see a"donations" option during the booking process. Due to the hugely increased prices being forced on swimmers the MPA do not believe donations should be requested on top of the entry fee. The new session costs are adequate to cover the costs of maintaining the ponds.
Good luck with getting a ticket, we are hopeful of more slots opening up soon.
We know you are probably itching to get back into the water as soon as possible and, despite much pre-planning work already undertaken for a possible opening in early July, the recent announcement by the Government means that unfortunately swimming facilities have to remain closed and DO NOT have permission to re-open in early July.
If you would like to know what you can do to "encourage" the Government to re-open swimming facilities then look at the list of actions proposed by Swim England. The more that take part in these actions the better!
ny possible re-opening, when it does finally happen, will be with limited numbers of swimmers. Swimmers will have to pay and pre-book online for a fixed 1 hour slot (MPA membership does not allow free swimming and Season Tickets are currently suspended).
We appreciate that some people may have limited online access and may be unable to make digital payments and that the approved new cost per swim (£4.00 with £2.40 for concessions) is a large amount for many swimmers and we are raising all these issues with the Heath management and City Of London.
As an association, we continue to push back on the new charging regime overall and we are in regular discussion with the other local swim groups and MPs are also getting involved. We are also doing our utmost to ensure the preservation the natural environment of the Mixed Pond during this time of change.
We hope to have more news in the coming weeks about the ongoing opening and will email members and our mailing list once we know.
If you want to be kept up-to-date and show your support for the Mixed Pond then please join the MPA (its only £3 per year).
With the recent adjustments to the lockdown status we wanted to update subscribers on the current situation in relation to swimming as it applies to the Heath.
We would all love to be back enjoying the water right now and we are regularly in contact with the Hampstead Heath management team trying to work out what plans can be put in place to start to re-open the swimming facilities in some way.
Mixed Pond Association Committee