Seriously ill local children will once again be able to enjoy the therapeutic properties of aquatic therapy thanks to a huge project to refurbish the hydro pool at Hope House Children’s Hospice.
For the children with life-threatening conditions who visit Hope House for respite care, sessions in the pool are often the highlight of their week.
But the original pool was as old as the building which opened in 1995. It urgently needed updating and the plant machinery was starting to fail, leaving the children without their aquatic therapy.
Hope House physiotherapist Esme Turner said the current refurbishment would ensure the children could soon return to enjoying the benefits of their pool experience.
“We offer many therapies for the children, but aquatic therapy, which makes use of the natural buoyancy, heat and resistance of the water is often the highlight of the hospice stay,” explained Esme.
“Seeing a child who is usually uncomfortable in their wheelchair due to muscle spasms, smile and look relaxed in the water is so inspiring. You can really see the difference that is being made to their wellbeing and comfort.”
The hospice had begun to fundraise for the improvement scheme before Covid-19 struck, and has received donations from 19 trusts and local organisations, including the Mark Masons, to fund the project.
The pool has now been out of use since March 2020 as part of measures to prevent cross-infection. But the refurbished pool and new specialist masks mean that the children will soon be able to safely enjoy aquatic therapy once more.
The work has included a total refurbishment of the pool and changing areas, the installation of new plant equipment to run the pool, and new hoists and sensory audio-visual equipment.
Head of estates and facilities Andy Wilkinson said the hospice was indebted to 19 funders who had joined together to makes the project possible.
He also thanked all of the companies who had worked on the project, particularly the building contractor Pave Aways, which carried out the main refurbishment at cost.
“Due to the pandemic this project has been a long time coming, but I’ll be delighted to hand over the refurbished pool to my care colleagues so that our children can return to enjoying all of its wonderful benefits,” he added.
Steven Owen, managing director of Pave Aways, said: “Hope House does phenomenal work supporting children and their families, so it was a privilege to be able to design and deliver the refurbishment of this important facility for the hospice. “We’re passionate about giving something back to the communities in Shropshire and Wales where we work and our team really enjoyed transforming the hydro pool, particularly our architect and design manager Keeley Fox, who masterminded the drawings and work onsite. We hope the children have great fun using it.”