Disabled pool access available at leisure centres

A unique system to improve swimming pool access designed for those who are disabled, less mobile or pregnant have become available at leisure centres in the Braintree District.

Braintree Swimming & Fitness Centre and Halstead Leisure Centre have recently installed the PoolPod; an innovative mobile lift mechanism that fits to the side of swimming pools to help individuals with reduced mobility in and out of the water with ease.

The pod has been installed at Witham Leisure Centre since 2014 and proved to be extremely popular with increased swimming participation and usability.

The ODA (Olympic Delivery Authority), which was committed to finding a new way of improving poolside accessibility, first introduced the PoolPod at the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games with the aim to expand future sporting and leisure participation.

Councillor Peter Tattersley, Cabinet Member for Health and Communities said: “Swimming is one of the best ways of keeping active and the PoolPod will help make our pools more accessible and ensure that every person with mobility issues has the same opportunity to access our sport and leisure facilities.”

Jonathan Bash, General Manager at Witham Leisure Centre said: “The pool pod has been installed at Witham Leisure Centre since the building opened in September 2014. The pool pod assists bathers to enter and exit the pool with dignity and securely. Swimmers can use the wheelchairs provided to access the pool seamlessly from the changing rooms rather than having to transfer to another hoist to gain access to the pool. The Pool Pod has boosted the participation of users with disabilities and has become a great feature at the centre.”