Council to trial new ‘disability friendly’ sessions at leisure pool

Lagan Valley LeisurePlex.  (Archive pic)
Lagan Valley LeisurePlex. (Archive pic)

The council is to trial ‘disability friendly leisure pool sessions’ at Lagan Valley LeisurePlex.

The sessions will take place on a fortnightly basis, commencing on Tuesday, October 25 from 6pm to 7.30pm.

The move came about following a recent meeting involving council representatives, Lagan Valley MP Sir Jeffrey Donaldson and Tracy Mearns, the local woman who campaigned for the council to introduce special pool sessions for children with autism.

Among those who attended the meeting were Councillor Tim Morrow and Councillor Alan Given of the Leisure & Community Development Committee and council officers.

Admission to the new sessions will be for council Buddycard holders, with places only available to those who book on line at www.lisburncastlereagh.gov.uk/things-to-do/lagan-valley-leisureplex/book-online.

Information about the Buddycard, which allows free access for a parent/carer, will be alongside the online booking information.

“The sessions will initially be limited to a maximum of 120 participants, including siblings. The normal capacity of the pool is 400 and the reduced figure for these sessions is to allow for a more relaxed and quieter environment. This figure will be reviewed following consultation at the end of the three session trial,” a council spokesperson explained. While Mrs Mearns had indicated a preference for weekend sessions, the council said this was “not operationally feasible given the existing leisure pool programme.”

Cllr Morrow, Chair of the Leisure & Community Development Committee, welcomed the new sessions, saying “I am delighted that following very informative and productive meetings, officers of the council have developed an acceptable solution that should ensure access to the leisure pool for many customers who have hoped to use the facilities but for various reasons have not felt comfortable doing so. I look forward to visiting a session myself and seeing first-hand the experience enjoyed by the participants.”

• Read related story - Campaigner’s delight: Tracy welcomes launch of ‘disability friendly pool sessions’ - click here.