Introducing Russell Bowman our new CIC Director

Image of Russell Bowman

We’re here with a little interview with the newest Director of Yorkshire Swim Works Russell Bowman and let’s start with a short introduction:

Russell lives in Shipley and is excited to take on the role of Director of Swim Works.  He brings over 20 years experience appraising sites and investigating ground conditions to support the design of public and private developments. Russell loves the outdoors and maps and it was this combination that led him to discover, and propose the new site for Yorkshire Swim Works.

We asked, Russell responded:

Everyone wants to know, how on earth did you know about the Kettlewell Reservoir?

I’ve been shocked by how many people didn’t know about it! I suppose it shows just how hidden away it is on the estate. I’ve explored almost every inch of the Estate for cycling, walking, climbing and it was through cycling that it first appeared on my horizon. There is an amazing photo somewhere of somebody cycling around it like a velodrome and if anybody can track that down we’d love to have access to it.

What excited you about the project that you have agreed to become a Director?

I love the outdoors, exploring, being in nature and the vision to repurpose a redundant reservoir and turn it into an enormous asset so close to my home just feeds into so many things I believe in. Access to nature, the community feeling, the energy of the other volunteers and the willingness to get things done whilst others talk were all big motivations. 

What impact do you believe Yorkshire Swim Works can have to Bingley and the wider area?

It’s huge isn’t it. Ambitious is the word that I’ve heard a lot!

The benefits of swimming and in particular outdoor swimming are now well proven. The boost it gives to mental and physical health and its ability to create social cohesion are documented and building something of this scale that sits so naturally in the environment is a project that deserves support.

With a young family myself, seeing investment in the area, new opportunities for them and the potential economic boost of tourists coming to the area fills me with excitement.

I believe that YSW can be (we’re all using this word sorry!) a catalyst for the next stage in Bingley’s evolution and an incredible boost to the St Ives Estate that has struggled in recent times.

Your skills have already been put to good use in the project…

Yes. On meeting with the founders of YSW I offered to conduct a preliminary geological survey on the site to understand a bit more about the feasibility of the project. I’ve also been lucky enough to build a local network over the last 20 years of specialists who we have persuaded  to offer free advice and those people deserve enormous credit and thanks for the work they have provided at no cost to the organisation. I’m hopeful I can continue to contribute in meaningful ways.

Any parting words?

I’d just ask everyone to listen and judge the people behind this for yourselves. I’ve been blown away by the energy, enthusiasm and skillset of those involved so far and their focus is purely on how to make their own community better. 

But most of all I’d say “it’s ok to be excited!”

Thank you Russell and welcome to the team.


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