A unique swimming pool lift which replaces pool hoists has been rolled out in a number of leisure centres across Northern Ireland – with one being placed in Newry Leisure Centre.
Pool Pods are a platform lift that were developed for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
With investment from the Department for Communities these pool pods are transforming pool access for those with a disability, impaired vision, restricted mobility and pregnant women
Fergus Devitt, Director of Active Communities at the Department for Communities said: “I am delighted that the Department has been able to commit significant funding to provide pool pods at District Council Disability Sports Hubs across Northern Ireland.
“Opening up access to swimming pools for people who would otherwise not be able to use these facilities is a practical outworking of our commitment to the Active Living: No Limits Action Plan and to the promotion of opportunities for participation in physical activity and sport amongst people with mobility issues.”
The facilities to secure pool pods are Bangor Aurora Complex, Lakeland Forum, Omagh Leisure Centre, Newry Leisure Centre and Foyle Arena.
The investment into inclusive swimming from Department for Communities through Sport NI is being delivered by Disability Sport NI which has gained Disability Sport NI’s Inclusive Sports Facility Accreditation.
Kevin O’Neill from Disability Sport NI welcomed the funding and said: “The facilities that have received the pool pods have shown a great commitment to improving access and providing their staff with disability inclusion training. This project is part of the wider District Council Disability Sports Hub Project which recently saw a significant investment into disability sports equipment in every council area.”
Welcoming the investment Sport NI Chief Executive Antoinette McKeown added: “These new pool pods are the latest example of how the Active Living: No Limits Action Plan is enhancing the lives of local people with a disability through sport.
“The many benefits of an active lifestyle to our physical, emotional and mental wellbeing should be open to everyone here, and Sport NI is proud to be working with our partners to create more inclusive opportunities for local communities to enjoy, engage and excel in sport.”