Our aim in all our community based sessions is to provide ways of ensuring individuals are given opportunity to engage with the local community, raising public awareness of the issues faced on a daily basis for individuals with disabilities and forging relationships with local communities and promoting non-exclusive activities.
The sessions are used to build up the individuals confidence in different social settings with people they are not familiar with. They offer the individuals the chance to experience activities that they perhaps would not be able to access without the specialist skills and knowledge of the supporting staff and the accessible transport that we use. It increases individual’s social skills for example tolerating busy environments and noises they are not used to experiencing or coping with.
Activities offer individuals the opportunity to be out in the fresh air and promote health and wellbeing:
Ice skating at Planet Ice provides individuals with an environment where they get sensory
stimulation from the colder atmosphere and a sense of speed.
Using specially adapted boats at Ferry Meadows each boat is manned by the Sailability volunteers
and offers an opportunity to interact with new people.Individuals gain a sensory experience from
the feeling of movement of the boat on the water and the wind on their faces. It’s an opportunity to
come out of their wheelchairs and the restrictions they can place on the body and offers freedom of
movement that they often do not get to experience.
We visit local cafes and those in the town centre often as part of peoples 1-1 support time or in very small groups. This is an important part of people’s social time giving them the chance to relax with their 1-1 support worker or with their friends in a normal every day social environment, where they can experience the sights and sounds of the coffee shop and the hustle and bustle of everyone coming and going.
Swimming at St. Georges Hydrotherapy Pool
Hydrotherapy supports individuals with physiotherapy exercises and is a weightless form of exercise. The warmth of the water enables the muscles to relax and joints become more flexible. The benefits can be seen in the individual for the rest of the day following a session.
The temperature of the water in a hydrotherapy pool is the only water that is suitable for individuals with complex needs as they are unable to keep themselves warm in a pool that is of normal temperature due to their limited mobility and movement of limbs and poor circulation. The ambient temperature is kept throughout the whole building so that when individual comes out of the water into the changing areas they do not experience a rapid drop in body temperature.
When in the water for many of the individuals it’s the only time that they are able to have freedom of movement when they are not on or in a piece of equipment. The experience of being in the water and the weightlessness allows some individuals the ability to walk with minimal assistance as the water supports their weight. Hydrotherapy is sometimes the only form of exercise that some individuals can take part in and is important in weight control.
St Georges is the only pool in the local area that offers sessions for females only which meets the cultural needs of some of those we support, without this facility they would have no access to a swimming pool.
Whilst in the water there is a range of flotation equipment that is used with individuals to improve hand eye co-ordination. The social aspect of the pool environment gives opportunity to interact with poolside staff, especially if they are having to retrieve items that have been thrown from the pool. It is an excellent sensory experience for individuals and they get an enormous amount of pleasure from this.
The whole environment is specifically tailored to meet the needs of individuals that have complex needs in terms of the specialist pool side hoist that uses a sling rather than the usual pool side chair that many people would not have the ability to sit in.