IT WAS with tremendous interest that I read the report in The Westmorland Gazette of July 11 that Sandgate School, Kendal, was set to launch a £250,000 Make a Splash for Cash appeal for a sensory pool.

It is proposed that this pool will be part of the expansion of Sandgate School at the Queen Katherine School site.

The specialist teaching staff and therapists, parents and pupils have identified a need that is not being delivered and South Lakeland Hydrotherapy Trust - (SLHT). Sandgate Hydrotherapy Pool is very excited and supportive for the school and what it means for the pupils at Sandgate School.

On July 15 The Westmorland Gazette reported the project for ‘Solar panels and new roof planned for popular Sandgate Hydrotherapy Pool in Kendal’.

This may lead to confusion for some readers, which I would like to clarify.

Sandgate Hydrotherapy Pool, Sandylands Road, Kendal, provides hydrotherapy that can accommodate up to about 18 pool users per session along with carers and physiotherapists. The pool is jointly operated by SLHT and Cumbria County Council and is open seven days per week (approximately 12 hours on weekdays and six hours at weekends) averaging about 22,000 individual user sessions per year.

Hydrotherapy, otherwise known as aquatic physiotherapy, is a specific form of physiotherapy treatment undertaken in a heated pool. Hydrotherapy treatment incorporates individual assessment, diagnosis and the use of clinical reasoning skills to formulate a treatment programme appropriate to each patient’s needs.

This treatment is therapeutic and assists with relaxation, decreases pain, increases muscle strength and enhances overall mobility of the patient. The key benefits of hydrotherapy are from the heated water and resistance that the water provides.

SLHT has been raising funds for about three years to replace the roof and install solar and PV panels on the roof at a cost of about £150,000. The fundraising has involved many people and organisations who have supported this project, which will be completed this year. The characteristic wave roof, which is more than 40 years old, loses excessive heat energy and would not support the solar/PV panels and has to be replaced.

SLHT raises charitable funds to keep the pool sustainable. Some examples are: - since 2012/13 the trust invested £190,000 in the pool upgrade/refurbishment of changing facilities and car park extension; in 2013/14 £4,700 in a chlorine dosing unit, £50,000 for new boilers, £10,000 for new skimmers, £11,000 for replacing the ultraviolet light sterilisation system and £4,000 for air handling/heat exchange units.

There is a true partnership supporting hydrotherapy services from Sandgate Hydrotherapy Pool with SLHT from Cumbria County Council, South Lakeland District Council, Kendal Town Council, Morecambe Bay Clinical Commissioning Group and the University Hospitals Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust to deliver this very valuable service to the people of Kendal and Cumbria. The impact of the service is far reaching and multi-faceted.

Colin Ranshaw

Chairman Board of Trustees SLHT