Volunteer job vacancies:
Brightlingsea Community Lido relies on its volunteers to keep the pool open for everyone to enjoy. There is lots of work ahead as the Lido develops. If you would like to get involved there are many ways - from administration to life guarding to IT and social media! Young people doing voluntary service for the Duke of Edinburgh's Award are particularly welcome. To find out more please email
See below for a personal view of working at the Lido by volunteer Karen Hine.
Help us by donating:
If you would like to make a donation towards the work of the Lido, please visit the ticket office during working hours. Donations can be made by cash or cheque.
Below: Volunteers at the Lido, 2019. (Image credit: Douglas Blanks)
Bottom: Some of the Brightlingsea Lido volunteers at the pool's VIP Night for volunteers and supporters, 25 May 2018.
A day in the life of a volunteer
Lido volunteer Karen Hine tells how she got involved in helping at the pool and how she kept her cool on a busy July day, one of the hottest on record.
Two years ago my husband and I moved to Brightlingsea, downsizing and releasing funds from the sale of our old house to enable our son to buy a flat – and leave home! We spent a year 'doing up' our new Brightlingsea home. I still work two days a week, but didn’t feel ready to spend my other days visiting garden centres or making cards or sewing cushions – all things I love doing – but it wasn’t completely fulfilling. I knew about the Brightlingsea Lido and had watched it being cleaned and painted in 2018, and then visited with grandchildren during the glorious 2018 summer.
In 2019 I saw a Facebook posting looking for volunteers, so went down to the Lido in March and met some other volunteers, I was welcomed and I felt very comfortable with everyone busily working around me, cleaning sludge from the pool, making cups of tea, and gutting the old café.
Before the pool opened I joined in helping paint the big pool, weeding, tidying the office, making cups of tea, and doing some clerical work. Before the pool opened to the public, we had a training day, how to work the till, what the administrative routines are, and how to use the coffee machine!
There were a couple of social occasions and it was great to meet other volunteers and make new social connections. So far I’ve loved every minute, made new friends, and can walk around Brightlingsea with a smile, nod or chat with someone every few yards along the road!
What’s it like volunteering on the hottest day of the year?
Thursday 25th July 2019 is hot, it was hot at 6 am, it was very hot at 8 am, and by 10 am it is extremely hot! I have volunteered to be in the Front Office from 12.30 until 7.30 pm – this was my choice! I am happy to see Sue H was there too. Pam, and Sue L are also in the office when I get there, plus two Trustees, and the Manager, Clive. The Lido is at full capacity, it had been full by 11.30 am. However, the sale of inflatables is really busy, small children asking about the cost, and deliberating on whether to have a Lama or a Stingray. Parents trying to encourage them to have a £2 ball instead! Lifeguards coming and going on their breaks, taking on water, coming in for some shade. Half a dozen cuts and grazes and plasters to apply. And then there is the phone – every two minutes 'are you open?' 'is it busy?' 'how long is the queue?' People needed a pass-out stamp to put more money in the car parking or needing a smoke. Everyone is happy, everyone is enjoying the beautiful lido and the glorious sunny day.
I decide while the till is quiet to leave Sue H holding the fort, and take a bin bag and go around the pool side – lots of happy faces, and people thanking us, collecting rubbish enables me to make sure everyone is happy, safe, and enjoying their day. Everyone is. I report to the duty manager a minor incident I had spotted, and she deals with it promptly and politely – everyone is still happy. Back in the office we have cash to count, and a delivery of inflatables to unpack. Someone reports they’ve run out of loo paper in the ladies – I find a replacement, but all the cubicles are occupied so push them under the doors! Everyone laughs – everyone is happy.
An incident at the front gate – people are getting hot and bothered and the volunteers have been standing in the heat too for several hours. Duty manager is called – everyone is happy again. There is only one credit card machine between the front office and the café, so I’m 'runner' for the day and back and forth to the café, its good for a laugh, and we joke with incoming visitors if they have the cash it would really help. Everyone remains cheerful even those who have queued three or four hours. hen they leave everyone says what a great day, what a lovely place, and we all feel buoyed up and full of pride at helping families and bringing so much life to Brightlingsea.
At 5.30 we start to count the cash and tally up the credit card slips – it's been a very busy day there’s lots to do. We clean up the office and tidy away the broken inflatables and collect all the lost property. The lifeguards go around the pool cleaning, the changing rooms and pool side. It looks pristine again. The other volunteers have all gone home now, I’m on the till waiting for the adult evening swim. Other Thursdays there’s been a few hardy souls, today there were over 60 – enjoying the evening sun, and private use of the pool. I cash up, wash up the cups then go for a paddle in the baby pool – it's so refreshing and beautify warm I wish I’d brought my costume for a swim. I cadge a left-over sausage in a roll from the leftovers in the café and enjoy 5 minutes before I make my way home.
Why should you volunteer
For those out of work it gives you back your sense of worth, it gives you work experience, and gets you involved in different areas of dealing with the public – you learn from your colleagues, you learn from the public. For those semi/retired it keeps you active, makes your brain work, it gives you a sense of belonging, it gives you colleagues and workmates again.
For those new to Brightlingsea, it enables you to meet new people, to widen your circle of acquaintances, the possibility of making new friends, of meeting your neighbours, of feeling that you belong to the town.
For stay at home parents, the chance to get out and have adult conversations, a chance to see that your family skills are truly valuable, and an opportunity to meet people.
What can you do at the Lido?
You don’t have to do front desk – you don’t have to work the till if you’re unsure, or not confident, you could litter collect, you could tidy the office, you could crowd control, you could make the volunteers tea, you could bake cakes and bring them in for the volunteers and life guards. You could water the plants or sweep up. You could help in the café – clearing tables, washing up – there are paid staff to do the cooking, make coffee and work the tills – but you could have a go if you wanted! But just being another pair of hands is helpful – restocking the chiller cabinets, selling ice creams, keeping the outside chairs and tables clean and tidy, going to the store cupboard, or taking stuff to the office. It all helps!
Come and see Clive the manager and tell him what you can offer, there’s no obligation to do a regular shift or a long shift.