Over recent years, New Forest District Council has invested heavily to ensure all its leisure centres and swimming pools are fully accessible and meet the 2010 Equality Act guidelines. As part of this ongoing programme, the Council purchased five portable pool hoists from Dolphin Mobility.
Dolphin Supply Disabled Access Pool Hoists to NFDC
Accessible Swimming in the New Forest
New Milton Leisure Centre is one of the centres where users with various levels of mobility have benefited from this investment as Manager Rob Mangles explained: “We run therapy swim sessions every week and the pool lift is integral to these as without it, many participants would be unable to access the pool. Staff and users have also commented on how easy and comfortable the pool hoist is to use”. As part of the £550,000 refurbishment of the centre, New Forest District Council also invested in two fully DDA accessible changing rooms, accessible lockers and automatic entry doors and gates.
The centre’s disabled users have been delighted with the refurbishment, none more so than Peter Downie who is a full time wheelchair user. Swimming plays a major part in Peter’s ongoing therapy and fitness regime as he explained: “When I was in the rehabilitation centre following a spinal operation, hydrotherapy was a daily activity and when I came home it was vital that I maintained this. Although I have weights etc at home I find swimming the best form of exercise as it is great for my heart and lungs and helps me maintain my upper body strength which is vital as a wheelchair user. The pool hoist from Dolphin Mobility is brilliant. Over the years I have seen the way equipment has evolved with increased investment into research and development and never cease to be amazed with what companies such as Dolphin can supply. As an active member of the community I would also like to thank New Forest District Council for ensuring centres such as New Milton are fully accessible to all”.
Helping Older People Swim
New Forest District Council’s Head of Leisure, Martin Devine, commented: “Over the years we have invested in increasing the accessibility of our pools so that people of all ages and abilities can enjoy the benefits of swimming”.
“We have a high percentage of older users in our centres and facilities like the pool hoists get well used. There is significant evidence to show that regular activity, particularly in older people, can have a profound impact on longevity, health and quality of life. Since 2012 we’ve seen more people take up swimming, especially those over 60, so we’re pleased to be able to provide greater access through quality facilities as well as changes to memberships and timetables. Over 400 people have already signed up to our new swim specific membership and there’s also been a positive trend in general membership take up.”
The BluOne portable pool hoist is ideal for people of any age who have limited mobility. The lift can be used to transfer people from the changing room to the pool and then into the water ensuring they maintain their dignity at all times. The BluOne has a maximum lift capacity of 110 kg which can be extended to 120 kg.
With a timed entry into the water and exit of 23 seconds and 17 seconds respectively the user can quickly be transferred back to the changing room to be dried and changed. Unlike some pool lifts, the Blu One is suitable for skimmer and deck level pools both indoors and outdoors.
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