A BRAND new birthing pool has been unveiled at Kendal’s maternity unit thanks to £18,000 of fundraising by local volunteers.

The refurbished ‘active birth room’, which includes a brand new replacement pool, has been officially opened at Helme Chase, at Westmorland General Hospital, thanks to the site’s League of Friends.

“The League of Friends are delighted to have been given the opportunity to contribute to the new pool,” said Roger Thompson, chair of the group, who said it was ‘gratifying’ to know how many people will benefit from it.

“This is the first time that the league has been involved in Helme Chase.

“The facilities here are a lot different from the old Helme Chase and we hope the new pool is well-used.”

The facility was officially unveiled by local parent, Donna Nelson, who gave birth to tot, Charlie, less than two weeks ago.

“We were the first to use the pool and everything went really well,” explained the Oxenholme resident.

“The midwives were really helpful and friendly and I was very happy with the experience. I would thoroughly recommend a water birth – its very relaxing.”

The money for the pool was raised by the League of Friends, while the University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Trust - which runs WGH - paid for the refurbishment of the room.

A spokesman for the trust explained that the use of water in labour can reduce the need for medicinal pain relief.

Around 50 per cent of women who use Helme Chase now opt for a water birth, which is one of the highest figures in the country.

The League of Friends has since been hailed for its efforts.

“I would like to say a big thank-you to them,” said Sue Knowles, matron for midwifery.

“The new facility will be well-used.”