Set to enhance the lives of children with a range of complex physical and learning disabilities across Northumberland, Cleaswell Hill School has today opened its new hydrotherapy pool.

The state-of-the-art pool, which features adaptive technologies, including ambient lighting to create a stimulating, interactive environment was officially unveiled by Paralympic gold medallist, Stephen Miller MBE, to an audience of staff, students and members of the North East business community.

Using physical water properties such as pressure and temperature to deliver therapies in a relaxed and safe environment, the hydrotherapy pool will enable trained staff to deliver all-important physiotherapy sessions to pupils’ with a range of mobility impairments as part of its curriculum.

The £650,000 investment in the pool has been partially fundraised by the school, who called upon support from local businesses and members of the community to help find the final £230,000 it needed in addition to the £420,000 it had managed to ringfence as capital spend to complete the project.

Having reached its fundraising target thanks to the generosity of more than 100 local organisations and private benefactors, work began on the pool’s construction in the school grounds in 2018. With the major building works largely completed by May this year, contractors from ID Construction used the summer holidays to get the remaining works completed for the start of the new school year.

“We are absolutely thrilled to officially launch our new hydrotherapy pool,” said Mike Jackson, headteacher at Cleaswell Hill School.

“Hydrotherapy is an incredibly important part of our physical activity provision to students at Cleaswell Hill. Prior to opening our new facility, the closest hydrotherapy pool to the school was more than half an hour’s drive away, which took a large portion of teaching time out of the children’s school day when travelling back and forward.

“Having access to our own pool will give us more flexibility about how and when we deliver sessions and will enable us to open up hydrotherapy to more of our learners.

“On behalf of the staff and pupils at Cleaswell Hill School, I’d like to thank each and every person who has supported the project. This is a lifechanging development for the school and one which will benefit pupils here for years to come.”

When it came to planning the pool’s official launch, staff at Cleaswell Hill School wanted to make the event a day to remember.

A native of nearby Cramlington, triple Paralympic gold medallist, Stephen Miller MBE, was the perfect candidate to officially unveil the plaque.

“We wanted to make the event as special as it could possibly be for our staff and students,” Mike added.

“Stephen’s achievements in the world of athletics are a real source of inspiration to our pupils, so we were honoured that he was able to take time out of his busy schedule to pay us a visit, to open our hydrotherapy pool and meet with some of the children.”

Speaking at the event, Stephen Miller MBE, commented:

“I am delighted to open Cleaswell Hill School’s new hydrotherapy pool, it’s a great honour for me. I know how much I benefitted from hydrotherapy when I was at school and this will make a huge difference to the lives of the children attending Cleaswell Hill, as well as the local community.

“This is an amazing area and projects like this show how much people are willing to pull together and help each other when the need arises.”

Cleaswell Hill School is a specialist school, which supports children aged 4-18 years from across Northumberland with a range of additional complex needs.