Villa Maria Catholic Homes (VMCH) is thrilled to unveil the result of some amazing community generosity.
Work to transform the warm-water pool at our specialist school, St Paul’s College, finished mid-February, giving hundreds of children and adults with disabilities a fantastic start to the new year.
The unique and much-loved pool was built in the 1970s and was in desperate need of renovation when VMCH set about campaigning to raise funds in 2016. As a not-for-profit organisation, VMCH receives no funding for capital works.
Money raised through our Charity Golf Day, a co-campaign with Progress Leader newspaper, Art After Dark event, individual donations, bequests and trusts, has seen some huge changes take place, including a vibrant digital sea-life feature wall, new pool seating and sound system, safety features, tiling and painting.
“We wanted to transform the pool into a modern, state-of-the-art facility that could be enjoyed by people of all abilities,” said VMCH Chief Executive Officer Sonya Smart.
“And thanks to the generous spirit of our supporters, we have been able to do just that. We believe everyone has the right to experience the joy and therapeutic benefits of water. The environment in which this happens should reflect the vibrancy and the spirit of those who use it, which we are now glad to say it does.”
The pool at St Paul’s College is special because it is accessible to people of all abilities and has equipment that assists people with even the highest needs get into the water.
For parents like Carla, the changes are great to see. Her 12-year-old son Orlando, who has autism, has always loved the water. He even learned to swim in the warm-water pool. And last week, during his first session back in the new pool, he achieved another milestone.
“His teacher Nicky said he was an absolute star in the pool. Without any prompting, he lay on his back and swam beautifully…just gliding through the water, something he’s never done before,” she said.
“You only achieve firsts and milestones when you’re comfortable and happy and having such a nice new environment is conducive to learning and improving his skills. We’re all so happy with this fresh, bright and modern-look pool.”
Special thanks to the following donors of Make a Splash
- Estate of John Dineen
- Andrew and Geraldine Buxton Foundation
- Lorenzo and Pamela Galli Charitable Trust
- Br Gerald Develin Trust
- Acsess Health
- Walter Dodich
- St Columba’s College