Rotary Club of Clare giving the gift of accessibility

A vision first realised 20 years ago is now a reality and allows everybody in the community to enjoy what some have never been able to do, swim in a pool.

The most modern available overhead pool lift has been installed for the indoor heated therapy pool at the Valleys Lifestyle Centre, thanks to it being fully donated by the Rotary Club of Clare.

Until now, the only way into the pool was via the stairs, something that is not always easy for people with   accessibility issues, from broken legs to paraplegia and anything in between.

Last term’s president Glenn Waldhutter was the driving force for this community project, working hard to raise the $11,100 to fund the hoist, the sling and a trained technician to install the machine.

Mr Waldhutter explained that Rotary were able to find this money due to the community support of the Rotary Art Show, numerous regular projects and the club’s catering of the Burra and Robertstown drought community outreach sessions.

“By obtaining this hoist allows a multitude of new people to maintain mobility, access rehabilitation needs and to gain a healthy wellbeing,” Mr Waldhutter said.

“We must also thank the Valleys and the Clare and Gilbert Valleys Council who matched the cost of the hoist by engaging SJM Carpentry and building to complete the preparatory building structural work.”

The Valleys manager Ben Whalans was excited to see the progress of the installation and has ensured the staff have all received training in using the machine.

“It is so good to be able to offer this service to anyone who asks,” Mr Whalans said.

“We have regular enquiries about the therapy pool and was sad to know that some people were missing out because of not being able to use the stairs.

“This hoist gives access to everyone in the community, anyone can get in now who would have previously been restricted by using the stairs.

“We can assist general customers, members and user groups and with the ease of use of the hoist, no one needs to be turned away from the joy and benefits of swimming.”