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Updated hoists give Swimmers with a disability a lift

Upgraded pool hoists have been installed at two Live Borders facilities following concerns from users with limited mobility that the current ones were dated and difficult to use.

Peebles and Selkirk swimming pools hope to regain customer confidence as well as providing independence when accessing swim and aquatics activities by installing the more user-friendly equipment.

Alan Oliver, Live Borders Disability Sports Development Officer, said: “We took our customer’s comments on board and acted accordingly to ensure that we restored both confidence and independence.

“The new equipment means that users don’t need to transfer from chair to chair anymore. We are confident that this will provide new opportunities for the community to participate in swim activities regularly.”

Funding for the hoist at Peebles Swimming Pool came from Scottish Borders Council’s Quality of Life scheme (£5,000) and Clubsport Tweeddale (£1,000) while similar Grant Awards were made to Selkirk Swimming Pool from Selkirk Common Good Fund (£4,000) and the Eildon Neighbourhood Fund (£1,000).

The current Borders swimming programme allows users to progress from Learn to Swim lessons through to disability performance swimming squad - the Border Barracudas. Recreational swimming is also on the rise and these enhancements improve opportunities for all users with a disability.

One of the main difficulties with the previous hoists was the transfer from walking support to the lift. The new equipment allows the user to be clipped into the chair in the changing rooms before being taken to the hoist and lowered into the water.

The new hoist upgrades are aimed at reaching out to numerous community groups, schools, families and carers across the area while safeguarding customer independence and increasing aquatic participation in a discrete and user-friendly manner.

Facility user Callum MacDonald who suffers from Cerebral Palsy is one of many users to endorse the initiative.

“The new pool hoist is magnificent,” he said.

“I feel completely safe as I don’t need to transfer onto a static chair.

“Having the chair in the changing room is much safer as I feel uncomfortable moving on wet slippery floors.

“The new chair allows me to be more independent and I don’t need to rely on several people assisting me to transfer.

“I will certainly be using the pool more often and that’s a massive positive as it has opened up a new opportunity locally.”

Ewan Jackson, Chief Executive Live Borders, commented: “The profile of disability sport has never been higher and the users, quite rightly, expect adequate modern facilities.

“The Olympic and Paralympic Legacy have helped enormously to raise the profile of disability sport and, as a result, the Borders Disability Sports Development Officer and our facilities staff are working tirelessly to create opportunities for users with a disability to take part in sport and leisure.”