Birmingham's Social Gay Swim & Water Polo Group

Moseley Shoals

No Joining Fee, or Sign-Up for an Ongoing Commitment - Just Come Along and Join In Whenever You Can. Your First Session is FREE

Following repairs at Moseley Road Baths, all sessions are now running normally as of Wednesday 10th July.


Weekly evening and weekend sessions throughout the year, at the magnificent Moseley Road Pool, Birmingham’s oldest working pool and a Grade II listed building. We hire the whole pool, and are a mixed ability group, catering for everything from 'splash & chat' to competition standard. We welcome male and female swimmers of all abilities, but currently cannot take non-swimmers

Social Events

Out of the water the Shoals are just as friendly and sociable, if not a bit more so. After our pool sessions we undo all the good work by going to the pub for drinks. We also have cinema / theatre trips, balti nights, picnics in the summer, and visits to Moseley Farmers Market. Most years we have at least one short break overseas for regular members, with friends and partners welcome to join us.

Water Polo

Water Polo offers the benefits of swimming with the social aspect of team sports like football and rugby. We run a session every fortnight at our Wednesday swim, where we play for fun, and our sessions are designed to ensure everyone enjoys themselves, whether they've played before, or are completely new to the sport.

About Moseley Shoals

Moseley Shoals were founded in April 2000 and have grown into a thriving and diverse sporting and leisure swimming club. We are a mixed ability group - everything from 'splash & chat' to competition standard swimming, and now our popular water polo. Affiliated to the Gay Outdoor Club and supported by Birmingham Pride we ensure that there are plenty of opportunities to socialise as well as swim, with the chance to head to the pub after sessions, as well as a range of social events, and holidays.

We understand that there is more to gay life and identity than the 'scene', and with this in mind our main aim was to provide a social group away from, and as an alternative to 'the scene'. Starting in a public session, word of mouth and a few regular adverts in the 'Zone' and free magazines, soon grew the group to a regular crowd of about 15 on Mondays. We were usually to be found chatting and drifting around with the current in the shallow end - well, we are a social group too! We were surprised and delighted when the Moseley Road Pool staff approached us with the offer of a private session that had become available. From these beginnings the group has swollen to a regular Monday crowd of about 30 people, with an overall membership of about 80, making us one of the Midland's largest social gay groups. Such was our popularity at the pool, that soon after we were offered our Sunday lunchtime session as well. Some years later we trialed adding Water Polo to our sessions, which proved such a success it has now become a regular part of the group.

It's only after coming along to one of our sessions that you can appreciate that water can be just as good a social lubricant as beer or alcohol, and with gentle exercise (it's not all chatting) it's much better for you! At the core of Shoals is the social element, which has made the group such a popular ongoing success. 'Shoals' attracts all ages, shapes, sizes and backgrounds. It offers something for everyone, from gaining confidence in the water in a supportive environment, to serious lane swimming for those who want to improve their fitness and technique. We have slow and fast lanes roped off for steady lane swimming, which still leaves the other half of the pool for messing around in and chatting!!

Session Costs

Pay as You Go - £4.50 per Session / £3.00 Unwaged & Low Income.

Monthly by Bank Transfer - £23 per Month (includes all sessions in the month).

This is to cover pool hire and insurance charges - we are a non-profit community organisation.

If cost is a barrier to participation, or you have any fundraising ideas, please talk to one of our organisers.

Joining Us

  • There is no need to pay a joining fee, or sign-up for an ongoing commitment - just come along and join in whenever you can. We have an informal approach to membership, and regular members get involved in our range of social activities.
  • Your first session of swimming or water polo is FREE, in order to give us a try!
  • We use Moseley Road Baths and other City Council pools and their staff can guide you to us.
  • We hire the whole pool, so just get changed and come through to the poolside.
  • We usually have our own lifeguard, so look out for them, they will check your swimming ability and introduce you to at least a couple of members.
  • We are a friendly bunch so don't worry if you come on your own, but you are welcome to come with a friend.


We provide our own lifeguards for the majority of our sessions. These are regular Shoals members, who have had their lifeguard training and qualification paid for by Shoals in return for providing lifeguard cover at our sessions. We are always on the lookout for more members who would like to qualify

Forthcoming Sessions

2019 October

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‘Activate’ Comes to an End

Activate was a Sport England-funded project, designed to encourage LGBT people in the area to try new sports, and challenge homophobia in sport, after feedback that there was not enough provision for the community. July 2018 saw the official conclusion of the Sport England funding for the Activate programme at Birmingham LGBT. We’ve been privileged…

Thank You GungHo Creative

A huge Thank You to GungHo Creative Communications Agency for their kind gift of Speedo swimwear after their recent promotion. We will certainly put them to good use!

Moseley Road Baths CIO

Our home, Moseley Road Baths is now managed by a Community Interest Organisation, Moseley Road Baths CIO. The CIO took over the day to day running of swimming at Moseley Road Baths at the beginning of April 2018 on a business-like but not-for-profit basis. It is always looking for volunteers to help with reception, lifeguarding,…

'Community Matters'

As a community group, we work with and support other like minded organisations in both the LGBT community, and the Birmingham area. We are affiliated to the Gay Outdoor Club, and supported by Birmingham Pride. Our activities and events are often featured in Midlands Zone. We are working with Birmingham LGBT, to help support and promote their sports & wellbeing campaigns, and their ‘Pride in Sports’ events. In the past we have run regualar Transgender swimming sessions in association with TAGS, and ‘Gay Dads’ swimming sessions. We have competed in tournaments run by Out to Swim in London, and London Orca water polo, and also have links with Northern Wave swimming, and Manchester Sharks water polo in Manchester. We have also competed in overseas swimming galas organised by the European Gay & Lesbian Sports Federation, and the Gay & Lesbian International Sports Association. As regular users of Moseley Road Pool, we supported the campaign to save it from closure led by the Friends of Moseley Road Baths, and a number of our members took part in the now famous ‘Terracotta Army’ photo shoot at the pool, which gained national media coverage. Since the running of the pool transfered to Moseley Baths CIO, we have been active in supporting them so that the pool remains an asset for the whole community.

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