Swimmers with all levels of ability will soon be able to take to the water more easily after mid and East Antrim Borough Council successfully applied for funding from the Department for Communities (DfC) for a new pool hoist installation at the Amphitheatre Leisure Centre.

The current hoist for users with a disability is no longer fit for purpose and will be replaced with a new, portable piece of equipment which will create better and easier access to both the main swimming pool and the learner pool.

The funding, awarded under DfC’s Access & Inclusion Programme 2019, means Council can actively progress one of the key strategic targets in its Corporate Plan by creating a strong, vibrant and inclusive community where people work together to improve the quality of life for all.

It is expected the new hoist will be commissioned and installed, with training provided to staff, by the end of March.

It is hoped the equipment will improve the experience of swimmers with disabilities or those who need assistance with entering the water.

A wide range of Disability Schemes and Pan Disability Clubs across the borough have proven very successful with Council’s leisure and sports facility users, with Easter, Halloween and Summer Schemes seeing an increase in those children with a disability attending year on year. A Pilot Disability Cycle Scheme was also delivered during the months of July, August and September last year.

Councillor Peter Johnston: “The installation of the new pool hoist at Carrickfergus Leisure Centre is a welcome addition to Council’s leisure facilities and I am delighted that Council has secured the funding needed to realise this project.

“This new equipment will allow people of all abilities to enjoy the many health benefits that swimming offers, and that is great news for the area!

“I commend Council’s Leisure and Sports Development Department for their commitment to ensuring the people of Carrickfergus have leisure facilities that we can be proud of and for championing a fitter, healthier and happier lifestyle for everyone.”