Hydrotherapy pool at Luton's Keech Hospice to get major revamp
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The hydrotherapy pool facilities at charity Keech Hospice Care are set to see major improvements after grants were awarded from three funding trusts – The Valiant Charitable Trust, the Wolfson Foundation and The Edward Gostling Foundation.
The pool – near Luton – is used by adult and child patients and their families, special education schools, care homes, swim schools, and other charitable organisations who support children living with additional needs or disabilities in the community.
“We’re incredibly fortunate to have this facility,” said Elaine Tolliday, deputy CEO and clinical director at Keech Hospice Care, “but after 20 years it’s no longer fit for purpose. Modern electric wheelchairs are too wide to fit through the original door frames, so wheelchair users have to change elsewhere and then be moved into the pool area, which isn’t ideal.”
“The changes we can now make, thanks to these generous grants, include creating extra individual changing rooms, making existing changing rooms more user friendly, and creating a store for wheelchairs.
"The improvements will make the pool more easily accessible for everyone and will help us maintain the privacy and dignity of all pool users. A huge thank you to the charitable trusts who have made these changes possible.”
The improvements will enable twice as many people to use the pool every day, meaning even more members of the community can benefit from this vital facility.
Keech Hospice Care user Julie Josephs explains what the hydrotherapy pool means to her and her family:
“We make an 80-mile round trip every Monday, just so our son Dominic can use Keech’s hydrotherapy pool. The time we spend together as a family, in the pool, are the happiest hours of the week for us – they bring us such joy.
"As Dominic is non-verbal and can have seizures at any time, the pool is a place where he’s most relaxed and at his happiest. We’ve been coming to Keech since 2010 and every time we turn into the lane, Dominic starts singing.
"The only time we ever receive hugs from Dominic, is when we’re in the hydrotherapy pool and, as his mum and dad, that’s priceless.”
The work is due to begin in October and be finished by the end of January 2024. It can be carried out without the pool having to close, so impact to pool users will be minimum.