Hydrotherapy pool has remarkable benefits

August 03 2015

A NEW £1.45m hydrotherapy pool – benefiting disabled young people and adults – has finally opened its doors in Redland.

A NEW £1.45m hydrotherapy pool – benefiting disabled young people and adults – has finally opened its doors in Redland.

The Lord Lieutenant of Bristol, Mary Prior MBE JP, officially unveiled the new state-of-the-art hydrotherapy pool at Claremont Secondary School in Redland on July 13.

The Starfish Pool Appeal was established by Friends of Claremont School, a team of enthusiastic and committed volunteers, and headed by campaign director Bob Woodward. 

The pool not only sets out to benefit pupils at Claremont, but other community groups that support disabled young people and adults outside of school hours.

Funding was received from Charlie and Mary Dobson from the Starfish Trust (£500k), John Haworth and Joan Johnson of the John James Trust (£350k) and Bristol City Council (£110k).

The remaining funds were raised through cake sales, music gigs, running events and community fairs.

Dave Giles, chair of the Starfish Appeal, said: “The giving has been big and small, with a lot of help from neighbouring schools and some very touching in memoriam donations.

“The building was never going to happen over night, but now it’s up and running. It would be great to see it being used 24/7 by community groups who we hope will use it and contribute to its upkeep.

“It’s a great looking building but the look on the children’s faces is what it’s all about. Claremont’s disabled youngsters’ success is measured in minuscule things and their progress in the water is part of their achievement.

“The staff, I have to say, are as amazing as the pool! It’s a great amenity for Bristol we can be very proud of.”

Alison Ewins, headteacher at Claremont School, said: “We are absolutely delighted with our new pool, which will bring many positive benefits for our pupils and others in the community.

“I’d like to thank everyone who has been involved in the appeal – without all of their hard work we would not be in the position to open this wonderful new facility.”

Bristol mayor George Ferguson, who is patron of the Starfish Pool Appeal, experienced the benefits of hydrotherapy first hand, helping him to find the use of his legs after suffering from polio as a small child.

He said: “The Starfish Appeal is making this vitally important facility available to children who are far worse off than I was and will, I am sure, make a huge difference to the lives of many people.”

Mary Prior MBE JP said: “I think the pool is wonderful - the benefit for the pupils is immeasurable. The appeal has done so well to raise that amount of money in this current climate. I also like that they are planning to let it out to other groups out of school time.”

Mary Dobson, from the Starfish Trust, said: “All the parents we spoke to [from the school] said once their child gets into a pool, they feel absolutely free, and we thought, we've got to make this happen. It's nice to see it come to fruition.”

John Haworth, from the John James Trust, said: “It's been a privilege for the John James Bristol Foundation to be able to support such a memorable project, which will benefit so many of the children here at Claremont and also the local community. John James himself would have approved of this project.”

Claremont School is for pupils aged two to 19-years-old who have complex physical and learning disabilities.

Pupils at the school follow an individualised physical programme to maintain their muscle tone and joint mobility, and to develop it where possible. Hydrotherapy is an essential part of this programme.

For many disabled people, their first session in a hydrotherapy pool can be their first time without pain. Additionally, the exercises are more intensive than land-based physiotherapy and new movements are learned which can be transferred to everyday life. 

Hydrotherapy pool at Claremonth School