A POOL for disabled people has reopened after urgent work on the ventilation system was carried out.
Thamesdown Hydrotherapy Pool launched a fundraising appeal in 2011 to raise in excess of £100,000 to pay for the improvements to be made.
After 18 months of fundraising, the money was raised and the pool closed in December to allow the work to be done.
Pool manager Neil Montgomery said the first phase of improvements, which included a new ventilation system and a new boiler, had made a huge difference to the facilities.
“We are relieved and excited to be open again after being closed for a couple of months,” he said.
“Before, when you walked in to the building it felt really damp and the ceilings used to drip water – the condensation from the pool wasn’t being taken out of the building and it caused really, really bad mould.
“The way it was going, it could have caused health problems for our customers. Fortunately it didn’t, but it could have if it had got any worse so it was in an urgent state of repair.
“Now, everything is working really well and you can tell as soon as you walk in to the building that it is still warm, but not damp anymore and that gives our customers a good feeling. “We have spruced the place up a bit, with new carpet and paint, it needed a bit of TLC, but the customers won’t see the majority of the work that has been carried out because it is in our plant room.”
The pool, in Jefferies Avenue, is several degrees warmer than a normal swimming pool because many of its users are unable to move around as freely as more able-bodied swimmers and may get cold. Before the work was carried out, the humidity was a stifling 90 per cent because of the poor ventilation.
“We are here to help people at the end of the day, so we are pleased to be open again,” said Neil.
“We are hoping our numbers will increase now. We were attracting about 500 visitors a week, but we do have capacity to take more so hopefully that will go up. I know a lot of our customers had been staying away because of the problems. A few of them suffer with severe asthma and they didn’t want to do anything that may make it worse so I am hoping they will come back.”
The second phase of the work will involve improvements to the changing room ceilings which have been damaged by the hot air, but the pool will not need to close for this. Fundraising will now continue to secure the £20,000 needed.
Neil said: “I’d like to say a big thank you to everybody who helped us raise the £100,000 to get to where we are now, there are too many to thank individually.
“The fundraising will continue but there is no time limit on raising the £20,000. The damage to the changing rooms won’t get any better but it won’t get any worse now the ventilation system has been replaced.”
To donate, call 01793 496002, email info@thames downhydrotherapypool.com or go to Thamesdown Hydrotherapy Pool on Facebook.