Anton Pokryshchuk started volunteering at Moseley Road Baths earlier this year as part of our lifeguard training programme. Since then, he has gone on to become a fully-qualified lifeguard and popular member of our swim team.
We caught up with Anton to find out a bit more about his experience…
Hi Anton! Tell us a bit about you…
I have lived in Birmingham since April. I wanted to be involved in sport so started looking for a way to become a lifeguard. I read an article online about Moseley Road Baths and it interested me because it wasn’t the same as every other swimming pool. It was different because it was old and had a lot of history.
I was able to learn how to be a lifeguard for free in return for a few hours of volunteering. I started here in June and, after I qualified as a lifeguard, I was offered a paid job here for a few hours a week.
Recently, I have applied to Birmingham University to work as a Sports Assistant which includes being a lifeguard and am waiting for the results.
Why did you move to Birmingham?
I moved to Birmingham after learning that it is quite a large city (second in England after London) with a lot of opportunities for work and development, good transport links (railway station, airport, motorways) and at the same time with quite affordable prices for living. Of course, I encountered a lot of difficulties here, but Moseley Road Baths became for me the place that helped me to go through a certain adaptation here, find friends and get a lifeguard profession, for which I am very grateful to the MRB.
Did you ever work as a lifeguard back in Ukraine?
I did when I was much younger. But unlike Ukraine, in England being a lifeguard in a swimming pool is like a profession that needs to be mastered, undergo appropriate training and receive a special certificate, which in the future must be renewed every two years, which forces to approach this type of activity more seriously.
What was the experience like being a volunteer at Moseley Road Baths?
It was a very good experience! It was great to meet new people and it gave me a better understanding of Moseley Road Baths, Birmingham and British culture. It has also motivated me to stay in good shape. I am always training in the pool! And I have learnt about safety in water and first aid which is useful to know.
Finally, what has been the best thing about volunteering here?
When I am here, I can feel the history of the building. It’s not very connected with lifeguarding but it is my favorite thing! This building was built over a hundred years ago and people would queue up to use hot water and baths because they didn’t have that at home. I always imagine what it would be like to be here when it was first built, in the later years of the industrial revolution.
Photography courtesy of Ian Cuthbert