THE pool’s open – so take a dip!
Youngsters and their parents took to the water for the opening of a new £200,000 hydrotherapy pool in Sheffield.
The state-of-the-art facility has been installed at the Ryegate Children’s Centre in Broomhill, and will be used to help hundreds of young patients with a range of disabilities by developing their skills, strengthening their bodies and providing sensory treatments.
And first to get splashing were Max Orbell, aged three, from Hackenthorpe, two-year-old Luke Guy, of Halfway, and Lillia Reading, three, also from Hackenthorpe, with the opening honours performed by Paralympic gold medallist Oliver Hynd.
The 18-year-old swimmer, who has muscular dystrophy, was treated at Sheffield Children’s Hospital for bone growth abnormalities, and said the pool ‘looks amazing’.
Ryegate’s newest addition replaces its previous 50-year-old pool, and boasts a modern design with an easy-to-access sunken bathing area, underwater lights and an improved hoist system. The hoist allows patients to be moved from the changing rooms straight into the pool and shower room.
Sheffield artists TADO have also brightened up patients’ experience by painting colourful pictures on the poolside walls.
Little Max Orbell suffers from a range of symptoms, including problems with speech and movement, and visits the Children’s Hospital regularly as doctors try to uncover the precise cause of his illness.
He has needed physiotherapy at the hospital since he was a baby, which includes hydrotherapy.
Max’s mum Alison, 34, said: “Max gets so excited when he’s going in the pool and gets so much out of it. He can stretch out, float and make movements that out of the pool he would find really difficult. It’s fantastic.
“For Max, hydrotherapy isn’t just another hospital appointment, it’s the chance to do something really positive and fun together with the lovely staff at Ryegate. This is so important to us.”
Lillia Reading has needed hydrotherapy at Ryegate since the age of one, after being born with a club foot and muscular myopathy, which has left her with just two muscles in her legs.
Mum Katie, 31, said: “The pool has been a great way for her to build up her strength in a fun, exciting way.
“It looks so bright and inviting but at the same time it has a really calming feel to it. It’s just fantastic that people have come together to do this amazing thing and make such a difference to children like Lillia.”
The pool will also be used by children suffering from brain or spinal injuries, or recovering following serious accidents.
It was built with help from local construction firm Henry Boot and Dransfield Properties, who donated £150,000, while £50,000 was raised through the Children’s Hospital’s Winter Ball.
Fundraising by Ryegate staff and Wortley Rotary Club also paid for toys and floats.
Jenny Featherstone, team leader for community physiotherapy and occupational therapy at Sheffield Children’s NHS Foundation Trust, said: “From helping children with profound disabilities to move freely, through to overcoming fear of water in children with autism, the pool will be busy all the time.”