We’d like to thank the Thames Water Charity Committee and the Hummingbird Charitable Trust for donating £20,000 between them to enable us to refurbish and upgrade the much-loved Hydrotherapy Pool. Check back here or social media pages for updates as our exciting Pool refurbishment gets underway.

Our pool is 19 years old and was built when Prior’s Court first opened. It is used all day, every day; each of our students gets at least 30 minutes of water-based therapy each week from an experienced Swimming Instructor.  In addition to the regular sessions received by every child, those with specific physical or psychological needs get additional structured sessions.

The benefits of water therapy for health and wellbeing are well known. At Prior’s Court, we use our hydrotherapy pool to:

  • Unlock tight muscles, caused by tiptoeing and physical tics common in people with severe autism
  • Exercise to build muscle and improve fitness – many of our students have poor muscle tone and struggle to participate in physical exercise
  • Improve balance and coordination –our students often find these extremely difficult; the warmth and buoyancy of the water provide a supportive medium in which to exercise
  • Calm anxiety – there is a high incidence of anxiety in our students, which can lead to self-harming and challenging behaviour. We use the mood lighting in the pool room to calm those with sensory needs and anxiety.

We have a particularly anxious young man. He regularly gets anxious and drops to the ground. He particularly finds it difficult to transition from place to place. By far his favourite place is the pool; as soon as he’s in the water, he smiles and fully submerges. Although not technically swimming, he is confident and happy. To see him so happy makes my job extremely worthwhile.

Amie Prout, Swimming Instructor

  • Teach about water safety and safe behaviours around water. Many of our children and young people are overly excited by water in all its guises – rivers, the sea, showers and baths, taps - which can be dangerous. Learning how to behave safely around water is an integral part of Prior’s Court’s education and care plan.
  • Have fun – swimming is one of the few activities here that every student loves! In fact, it’s often difficult to persuade them to get out of the pool when their session has come to an end.

Because of her Autism and difficulties with communication Lyla can often become withdrawn and it’s really hard to find activities that she can engage in. However in the water she seems so at ease & relaxed. It’s such an amazing sensory experience for her and she always greets the swimming pool with a massive smile and becomes very vocal in the water. Lyla struggles to access a public swimming pool because of her difficulties in social situations and therefore I’m so grateful that Lyla has access to swimming at Priors court, these lessons are not only therapeutic but also provide her with independence, confidence & valuable life skills around water safety.

Scarlett, mother of 8 year old Lyla.

PriorThe pool’s sensory system is now so old that much of it is not working; there is no longer sound and many of the lights are broken. It’s is out of date, so when it breaks it can no longer be repaired as many parts no longer exist.  An urgent upgrade is needed.  At the same time, we would like to improve the system by adding sound, additional modern lighting and projectors to throw images around the room. 

We would also like to improve access for routine maintenance by relocating the lighting to the peripheries of the pool and the control box from its external position to the poolside so that it can be accessed from within the pool environment. This is both safer and will reduce routine maintenance costs.

Thank you

Thank you to the Thames Water Charity Committee and the Hummingbird Charitable Trust for donating £20,000 between them to enable us to refurbish and upgrade the much-loved Hydrotherapy Pool.  Check back here or on social media pages for updates with progress as work on the Hydrotherapy Pool gets underway.