In development by
Berkshire Health and Well-Being Social Enterprises
Registered Charity No. 1164954
Search for land!
WBTC needs a level plot of development land, not less than 0.5 acres, on which to construct a community hydrotherapy pool building
West Berkshire Therapy Centre march on!
West Berkshire Therapy Centre relocated to the Frank Hutchins Hall in Thatcham on 1st April 2016, just two years after first opening, adding four extra major items of equipment funded by winning Greenham Common Trust's "Pitch to the Panel" event. The new equipment is all motorised and helps disabled individuals to move more easily, helping with practical things such as getting out of a chair and improving balance.
In the future it is hoped we will also open a Hydrotherapy pool, there is considerable synergy between these two therapies, with an especially great overlap between the types of user which will benefit from each. There will also be operational efficiencies to be gained by having the two under one roof: shared staff, changing facilities, etc.
Hydrotherapy is well known to benefit a wide range of conditions, notably:
- Pain in the back, neck, and shoulder; sports injuries
- Balance and co-ordination problems; dementia; Parkinson's Disease
- Post-operative rehabilitation, especially hip and knee replacements
- Cerebral Palsy, MS and other neurological disorders
- Autism, Down's Syndrome, learning difficulties
While power-assisted exercise is less well researched than hydrotherapy there is a wealth of empirical evidence to suggest a strong overlap with the conditions benefitting from hydrotherapy. Additionally, power-assisted exercise is very important in improving the mobility of older people, especially when overweight. Indeed, West Berkshire Council is especially keen to promote health and fitness for its citizens and sponsors an initiative called 'Activity for Health', which comprises the running of activities for various groups at the Council's leisure centres. It is proving to be a great success and the Council is keen to explore a partnership to provide it access to this gym.
In researching the feasibility studies for both the hydrotherapy pool and the power-assisted exercise gym we visited many other similar facilities, held discussions with their managements and spoke to potential users. There will be many differing types of users:
- Support groups - Demand from groups, usually organised charities, will be high. Those especially positive are the Alzheimer's Society, Arthritis Care, Cancer Care, Mencap, the MS Society, the Parkinson's Society and Newbury Stroke Club.
- Hospital out-patients - This is usually a prime source of clients requiring, for instance, therapies to assist post-operative rehabilitation for replacement hips and knees, cardiovascular problems, etc.
- Referrals from GPs and elsewhere - This is generally the greatest source of clients for a typical therapy centre. For instance, referrals account for 1100 clients in a year at the Thamesdown Hydrotherapy Pool, Swindon, and clients average twelve visits each.
- Self-referrals - Subject to certain conditions, including an initial assessment, we propose allowing self-referrals who believe they will benefit from either hydrotherapy or power-assisted exercise.
- Private clinics - Some private physiotherapy clinics wish to hire the pool and/or gym for their own client sessions.
- Special schools, units and centres - Many local special schools or units either have or would like their own pools and gyms. The alternative is to share a community pool. In addition, the Ormonde Centre, located at Newbury College, has expressed interest in dedicated sessions.
- Ante- & Post-natal classes - In some areas of the country hydrotherapy is popular, especially to ease back pain.
- Sports clubs - Several local clubs have expressed interest in evening pool hires. These include Newbury Rugby Club, to replace its current weekly visits to Oxford.
- Learning to swim classes - While warm water pools are not suitable for most swimming classes, the elderly and parents of very young babies are suitable clients.
- Mobility classes for the elderly and infirm - The use of both hydrotherapy and power-assisted exercise for gentle exercises for the elderly and infirm is proving a great success and is popular, not least because it also introduces a social element and some fun into the lives of the more fragile within our community.