Campaigner’s delight: Tracy welcomes launch of ‘disability friendly pool sessions’

Tracy Mearns.
Tracy Mearns.

The Lisburn woman who has helped secure special ‘disability friendly’ pool sessions at Lagan Valley LeisurePlex has said she’s “absolutely delighted” that the new initiative is to be launched later this month.

Tracy Mearns set up an online petition in May this year calling on the council to introduce special pool sessions for children with autism. And after her campaign attracted the support of more than 2,000 people, and organisations such as the Lisburn branch of Autism NI, she was invited to meet with council representatives to discuss the issue.

“We have had a number of meetings, but we have finally got dates and times confirmed which is great,” she told the Star.

The sessions will take place on a fortnightly basis, commencing on Tuesday, October 25 from 6pm to 7.30pm. Places must be pre-booked through the Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council website.

“I am absolutely delighted. This has been going on for so long and it’s great to finally have it up and running,” Tracy continued.

“It’s also great that the sessions will be available to everyone with a disability, not just those with autism. So many families are going to benefit from this, so that’s fantastic.”

Tracy said her nine-year-old daughter Chloe, who has autism and ADHD, will now be able to go to the pool and enjoy having fun with her brother and her friends.

“The sessions start over the Halloween break so it’s now just about raising awareness and getting the word out there. I know a lot of people have tried to book already, so hopefully it will be popular,” she added.

• Read related story - Council to trial new ‘disability friendly’ sessions at leisure pool - click here.