The first phase of a major construction project to create an innovative hydropool facility at a Northumberland school is now complete.
Cleaswell Hill School set itself an enormous challenge to fundraise £230,000 which would be added to the £420,000 the school had managed to ringfence as capital spend needed to build the pool in the grounds of its site in Guide Post, Choppington, which provides specialist education for pupils aged 4-19 years with a range of complex physical and learning disabilities.
Construction began at the school in 2018, with groundworks being prepared and concrete laid throughout the winter months by contractors, ID Construction, ready for the brickwork to begin.
“The structure of the hydropool is now really starting to take shape and the pupils are all incredibly excited,” said Mr Mike Jackson, head teacher at Cleaswell Hill School.
“To get to this point in the project, we have completed a number of fundraising activities in school, including non-uniform days, raffles and charity events, but the bulk of the money raised has come from external sources.
“We have been absolutely overwhelmed by the outstanding support the hydropool project has received from local businesses, community groups and the general public. We absolutely could not have achieved this without their help and we would like to thank each and every person who has donated funds either online or in person. The new pool is going to be an asset to our school and will help to enrich the lives of so many of our pupils.”
Hydropools use physical water properties such as pressure and temperature to deliver muscular physiotherapy in a relaxed and safe environment for people with severe physical impairments. Many hydropools incorporate sensory technologies such as ambient lighting and projections and underwater sound systems to create a stimulating, interactive environment for people to enjoy during sessions.
“We currently have to transport students over 10 miles to access the nearest hydrotherapy facilities which for some of the children, can be very distressing,” Mr Jackson explained.
“Travelling to and from the facility also impacts on our teaching time so to have our own pool on site that the children can access easily will be absolutely amazing.”
Cleaswell Hill plans to build hydrotherapy into its teaching curriculum for pupils across the school once construction is complete.
The current building schedule will take construction through until the summer holidays to complete, with September marked as the ideal opening date ready for the start of the new school year.
“We still have a way to go with the project,” adds Lauren Caisley, fundraising coordinator at Cleaswell Hill School.
“The final £50,000 hurdle that we need to fundraise will pay for vital internal fixtures and fittings such as hoists for manoeuvring the children in and out of the water, as well as staff training so that as many pupils as possible can benefit from the new facilities.
“We will be holding a number of events in school to help some way towards hitting our final target, but as always, any donations from the local community would be most welcome.”