A MILLION euro is still outstanding on the initial costs of the €4.6m hydrotherapy pool for children with special needs and sports athletes in Limerick.
The pool in Dooradoyle was opened more than three years, with €2m in funding from the JP McManus Pro-Am golf tournament in Adare allowing the development to proceed.
A spokesperson for St Gabriel’s Centre, which has over 400 children attending their services, was speaking this week to highlight the importance of their fundraising drive, and the ongoing €150,000 annual running costs of having the pool.
The pool, which is heated to 32 degrees, is open to the public and is used by people with a range of conditions – including arthritis, Parkinson’s, multiple sclerosis, pain management, fibromyalgia.
St Gabriel’s stressed that the pool is open to the general public.
It is also of benefit in the treatment of sports injuries and is used by athletes as part of their sports rehabilitation programme.
“The hydrotherapy pool it is an essential resource for children and adults with disabilities, as the warm water helps to relax muscles, relieve pain and promote physical well being,” said a spokesperson.
“Despite the high costs associated with it, we are very fortunate to have it, as there are not too many of these pools in Ireland.
“It really is a unique resource in the region, and we need to meet the running costs. It can have far-reaching benefits for people and it is through the generosity of the public that we can keep it open,” they said.
Chief executive Máire O’Leary said the pool has also proven to boost some of the children’s vocal abilities, including some who have never been vocal before.
“There are children who are on quite heavy pain medication and are now able to lower that medication and we have reports that children, who haven’t slept a night in years due to spasms in their muscles, sleep right through the night after their hydrotherapy,” she explained.
Key features of the hydrotherapy pool include a poolside hoist for disability and wheelchair users, well designed and spacious dressing rooms and in particular water and air temperatures which are maintained at 32 degrees Celsius.
While some 400 children attend a range of services they offer, the St Gabriel’s school also caters to 46 children with varying levels of disability.
Three local paralympian athletes launched a benefit night this week to raise vital funding St Gabriel’s centre, which does not receive any Government funding.
James McCarthy, a shot put athlete, swimmer Jonathan McGrath and rower Shane Ryan, who competed in this year’s Paralympic Games in London, are supporting the upcoming benefit night.
It will take place on Saturday, October 20, at 7.30pm in Limerick Greyhound Stadium and those attending are urged to book their tickets for this event through St Gabriel’s, as only pre-sold tickets - and not those sold on the gate - will directly benefit the charity.
They aim to sell 2,000 tickets for this event, and raise a combined €85,000 from the past three greyhound fundraising nights.
To book call Kate Sheehan on 061 302733 or email KSheahan@stgabriels.ie