Variety raises £30000 for Pool Makeover at Oakwell Short Break Centre May 31, 2017 7:40 PM


Oakwell is a short break facility, run by the Jersey Health and Social Services Department, specialising in personalised short breaks for children and young people with a range of additional needs, to include intellectual disability, physical disability, sensory impairments or complex health care needs. The Centre has long been a beneficiary of Variety Jersey, Oakwell was first acquired and refurbished by the charity in 1987. It was then donated to the States of Jersey with the proviso that the building was used to support children with additional needs. Over the years Variety – the Children’s Charity of Jersey has continued to fundraise for the centre delivering a wheelchair-friendly garden, two further bedrooms and the hydrotherapy pool. Half of the money that was raised from the 2016 Variety- the Children’s Charity International Conference went to Oakwell to make the swimming pool a sensory area.

The pool is one of the few places that children and young adults can be free of support systems, braces and wheelchairs. The sensation of floating in warm water is liberating and can be used for relaxation, delivering therapy or for stimulation and exercise. The addition of all the sensory equipment such as sound systems, interactive LED lighting and effects projectors will enhance the experience and provide an interactive environment to educate too. The equipment for the pool has been provided by SpaceKraft; the company are leaders in providing sensory solutions for special needs.
Currently Oakwell supports 14 children who can all access the pool. The pool is also used by an early years playgroup, individual families who book sessions with their child and by young adults with physical disabilities. It’s hoped that the sensory additions will make the pool a resource that will attract a wider array of children and young people with additional needs.
Joanne Cowen, Manager at Oakwell, said…
‘The donation from Variety was very well received. They have supported us for many years now, funding the pool and the building it is situated in. This further donation will greatly enhance the experience for the children using the pool.’
Robyn Lapidus, Chief Barker for Variety – the Children’s Charity of Jersey, said…
‘The sensory pool means a great deal to the children and families who see Oakwell Centre as an essential resource. We are proud at Variety – The Children’s Charity of Jersey to have supported Oakwell over so many years.’