20th Feb, 2020

Disability campaigners welcome 'changing places' facility plans at Abbey Fields leisure centre

Laura Kearns 20th Aug, 2019

PLANS to include a ‘changing places’ facility at Abbey Fields leisure centre in Kenilworth have been welcomed by campaigners.

Warwick District Council has proposed to remove the outdoor pool and build a smaller indoor pool with a moveable floor which means the depth can be adjusted.

Part of the proposals include a ‘changing places’ facility – allowing disabled people of all ages to change more easily with the help of a parent or carer.

A hoist will then lift the person to the water and lower them in.

Local parents Emily Naismith and Francesca Anker – both mums to disabled youngsters – have welcomed the plan.

They are often forced to change their children on toilet floors or in the back of the car due to the lack of changing areas available.

The pair campaigned tirelessly to have changing places installed across the district – previously there was only one at Shire Hall in Warwick. The campaign led to another being fitted at the Royal Priors.

Mum-of-three Emily, whose seven-year-old daughter has cerebral palsy, said: “I am sure I can speak for the whole of the local disabled community in saying that I am delighted with the new designs for Abbey Fields. I am especially pleased Warwick District Council is not only planning a changing place facility, but that it will include a hoist which can take a disabled person directly into the pool without the need for unnecessary transfers.

“Many people take going swimming with their families for granted, at the moment families like mine simply don’t have access, this will be life-changing for so many people across the district.”

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