Pool more accessible to all with PoolPod installed

SWIMMERS with mobility difficulties can enter Beau Sejour’s pool with more dignity, comfort and control now that the long-awaited PoolPod has been installed.

It has replaced the ‘medieval’ hoist, which was more than 15 years old.

Sea Donkey Adrian Sarchet completed the gruelling Oceans Seven swimming challenges to raise funds, with the final £18,000 donated by the John Ramplin Charitable Trust.

Installed over Christmas, lifeguards have received appropriate training and modifications have been made to fit it to the pool.

Guernsey Disability Swimming members first tried it.

‘Now it is absolutely so much better,’ said one member, Sandra Robilliard.

‘There is more control, more comfort, and more dignity. The old one was scary when you got to a certain point over the water, but this feels so safe. It can actually give people their independence.’

An Aqua-Tilt and PoolPod Submersible wheelchair are available to cater for a wider mobility range than the hoist.

Mr Sarchet said: ‘Hopefully there are people out there that couldn’t use the pool, that can now with this. It’s a complete game-changer.

‘The great thing about it is it’s not just for the disabled community – parents with babes in arms or elderly people with a hip out of action can use it too if they’re not feeling confident with using the stairs.’

Danny Le Page, poolside, and Adrian Sarchet, in the water, watch as Guernsey Disability Swimming member Sandra Robilliard uses the PoolPod to get into the pool. (29113801)

Wristbands are available at reception to operate it independently.

‘It is entirely within users’ control. I’ve always said the old winch was a medieval contraption – the chair was static, hard plastic with tiny wheels so the only way to manoeuvre it was by wheeling it backwards. For a time it was great as the only thing we had, but it had no dignity or self-control.’

GDS members are more familiar now after two sessions, with one member coming every morning.

‘He was a bit unsure of how it worked at first. But, like anything, practice makes perfect. Up until now the winch had to be operated by a lifeguard. Ultimately we’re moving so people can use it themselves.’

Mr Sarchet is proud to have played a small part in making swimming more accessible to all islanders, which motivated him while swimming in the toughest conditions worldwide.

Beau Sejour duty manager Danny Le Page was the ‘brainchild’ of it all, he said.

‘It was Danny who identified the PoolPod and spotted it as not only an opportunity for Guernsey’s disabled community but for everyone.’

Mr Le Page said: ‘When it arrived, myself and the tech team installed it. Pre-Covid, the PoolPod team would have come to get it in.

‘We had to make a few specifications and the engineers were really helpful.

‘We spaced the doors to give more room to get in, and dropped it slightly lower.

‘It took a week to 10 days of faffing around until we started using it, after finding a couple of minor issues.

‘As always it’s been a team effort. If it wasn’t for Ady’s fundraising we wouldn’t have it. We have more options with it and it can be used by everyone.’

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