Newry Leisure Centre in Northern Ireland is the first of a number of sites to have been installed with an innovative piece of equipment designed to help disabled people access swimming pools.
Funding has been granted to install the Poolpod, which is a platform lift developed for London’s 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, to be installed across NI.
The investment comes from Department for Communities, through Disability Sport NI and Sport NI as part of the Active Living: No Limits 2016-2021 Action Plan.
The new pods will be installed in sports facilities across Northern Ireland that have gained Disability Sport NI’s Inclusive Sports Facility Accreditation.
Newry, Mourne and Down District Council Chairperson, Councillor Mark Murnin said: “We are delighted to have been chosen by Disability Sport NI for a Poolpod installation in Newry Leisure Centre.
“The Poolpod platform will deliver quick and easy access to our swimming pool that will allow us to provide inclusive swimming for people of all abilities. The platform is user friendly and will encourage user independence.
“We are particularly pleased that the Poolpod will enable a wider range of citizens within the district who have mobility difficulties. It will encourage everyone to Be Active and become involved in sport to improve their health and well-being; something that the Council has been very keen to promote and facilitate.”
Welcoming the funding, Kevin O’Neill from Disability Sport NI, said: “The facilities that have received the Poolpods 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.”
Sport NI chief executive, Antoinette McKeown added, “These new Poolpods 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. Disability 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.”