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Bid for £60k funding as Dingwall's Puffin Pool 'limps along'

By Val Sweeney

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Puffin Pool
Puffin Pool

AN urgent £60,000 fundraising campaign to enable essential repairs at an ailing hydrotherapy pool used by thousands of people suffering painful or disabling conditions has been launched.

The charity-run Puffin Pool in Dingwall has been forced to close its doors on several occasions and is currently “limping along”, says its board which is urging people to support an appeal to keep it open.

It provides specialist therapy to adults and children with conditions affecting their joints, bones, muscles or neurological system and is also used to help speed up rehabilitation after accidents and operations.

But the pool has had to close several times due to the failure of the air handling unit.

Board member Barbara Manson said it needed a major overhaul including a new ultra violet system for the water purification system and replacement entrance doors.

“It is limping along until we can get new equipment,” she said. “It’s the fact the pool is 27 years old and everything is beginning to break down. We are also very aware there needs to be some internal structural alterations.”

Given the urgency, the board is using its capital reserves to order the new air handling unit which is should be installed in March.

“If the equipment breaks down between now and then, the pool will have to close,” Mrs Manson said. “Some people attend the pool on a weekly basis and that is what keeps them going. If it has to close for a number of weeks, it can make a real difference to their mobility and pain control.”

Retired GP Helen Charley, board chairman, said:“Having been a GP in Cromarty for 12 years, and having needed both hips and knees replaced, I am all too aware of how vital the Puffin Pool is to the good health and wellbeing of so many patients like me,” she said.

Established in 1992 by Dr Malcolm Stevens, the pool has provided an average 32,335 sessions each year over the past four years. They are supervised by qualified supervisors and lifeguards.

The majority of income is from its charity shop In Tulloch Street and the fees which are kept affordable for those on benefits, pensions and low incomes although these have increased by 15 per cent.

Supporters are rallying to support the appeal and staff plan a 28-mile sponsored walk from Tain to Dingwall.

To donate, see www.puffinpool.co.uk or pop in to the pool or shop.

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