Money raised through local housing developments has helped pay for the refurbishment of a swimming pool and creation of new fully-accessible changing facilities in a specialist Alton school for disabled children and young people.

East Hampshire District Council (EHDC) granted £190,000 of developers’ contributions to Treloar’s College to make essential changes to their pool. 

It also awarded a further £25,000 towards the project through its Supporting Communities Fund.

The swimming pool was in desperate need of refurbishment as the increasing complexity of Treloar’s students’ disabilities meant the number who could use the pool for swimming and hydrotherapy was dramatically reducing.  

Through a successful appeal, the charity raised £500,000, which increased the capacity of the pool by 60 per cent and brought the joy of swimming to many more students on a regular basis. 

The majority of EHDC’s contribution was drawn from the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL). For every new home built, a developer pays an agreed fee to go towards local infrastructure projects, such as these.

A further £100,000 was donated by The Gosling Foundation, a national grant-making organisation. 

These funds enabled the charity to: 

  • Add five new changing rooms with direct tracked hoists to the pool; 
  • Reduce the depth of the pool at the deep end to allow more students to be supported in the water by their carer; 
  • Improve ventilation to reduce fatigue;
  • Re-tile the pool to help the visual needs of students. 

These changes provide significant health and wellbeing benefits to students, as well as the local families who use the swimming pool for lessons and the disability charities which use the facilities during the holidays. 

Freya Chart, Treloar’s PE and swim teacher, said: “One of our students, Ella, has developed so well in swimming over the past six weeks – she has grown in confidence and is moving around the whole pool now she realises the whole pool is more accessible to her. 

“Through working with us to find her comfortable floatation, she can now move independently through the water and last week managed an amazing four lengths of the pool on her own – all the while shouting: ‘I’m going to do it again and again’!” 

Councillor Graham Hill, EHDC and town councillor for Holybourne, said: “Treloar’s is the largest specialist disabled centre of its kind in the UK, supporting around 170 young people on its campus in Holybourne.  

“I am so pleased EHDC awarded a grant of £190,000 from CIL for such a worthwhile project.” 

Peter Caplan, a trustee of The Gosling Foundation, said: “We were delighted to have been able to award Treloar’s a £100,000 grant. The fact the refurbished pool now almost doubles the number of young disabled people who can use it each week, together with the many benefits and enjoyment swimming and hydrotherapy bring, were key factors in our decision.”

Other community groups can benefit from the CIL cash. They have until March 24 to apply for the next round of CIL funding from EHDC.