Bath Sports and Leisure Centre is one of 20 sites across the UK receiving funding to create inclusive swimming environments for people with long-term health conditions, disabilities and rehabilitation needs.
The London Marathon Charitable Trust (The Trust) provided a £750,000 grant to allow Swim England and its partners - the Activity Alliance, Community Leisure UK and GLL – to enhance the swimming provisions at these community pools.
All organisations receiving funding for their pools are community leisure trusts who, as registered charities or societies, reinvest all profits into those community facilities and services.
The funding is being used for training, to provide accessible pool sessions, to implement facility changes and to install a PoolPod at each site.
A PoolPod is a sliding, submersible platform designed to provide those with mobility limitations with a dignified access to swimming pools. PoolPods were created following a design competition organised by The Trust as part of the legacy of the London 2012 Olympic Games.
Swim England CEO, Jane Nickerson, said: "We are pleased to be seeing the benefits of this grant from The London Marathon Charitable Trust.
"It is very important to reduce the barriers to aquatic activity for people with long-term health conditions or disabilities, and this funding is helping to make being in the water more accessible for all.
"We hope to see these provisions spread to as many centres as possible across the country."
The implementation of the PoolPods are already underway at a number of centres, with the remainder to be completed by Spring 2020.
The 20 selected pools have been spread throughout England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales.
Sir Rodney Walker, Chair of The London Marathon Charitable Trust, said: “The Trust funds work which challenges inequality of access to physical activity. We want to help create a society in which everyone is physically active, contributing to their health and wellbeing.
“We know that people who benefit most from aquatic activity – including disabled people, people with long-term health conditions, older people, people with mobility issues and pregnant women – often face the biggest barriers to accessing a swimming pool.
“This exciting initiative is making swimming pools across the UK more accessible and ensuring a more inclusive customer experience for all.”
The substantial grant from The Trust has boosted Swim England's Water Wellbeing model, which aims to help leisure centres remove barriers to accessing the water.
Water Wellbeing's 'whole facility' approach encourages centres to understand and improve the customer experience, through a wide range of resources available on the Swim England website.
Colin Coughtrey, National Community Participation Manager, GLL, said: “As a social enterprise, we believe in the importance of providing accessible leisure facilities for all, with the aim of improving people’s health, fitness and wellbeing through physical activity.
“We are delighted to be partnered with organisations that share these values and we are excited to see the positive impact the new PoolPods will have for pool users across the country.”