When The Morgan Foundation heard of the painstaking efforts being made to raise funds to build a hydrotherapy pool at St Christopher’s school they stepped in to help.
Not only did they donate more than £250,000 – they also teamed up with Redrow plc who masterminded the project.
Speaking at the opening of the state-of-the-art facility, Steve Morgan, founder and chairman of The Morgan Foundation, said:
“We are delighted with our association with St Christopher’s. I’m so proud of everyone who has been involved in this project, so proud of my colleagues at Redrow and proud of all the other people who have been part of making this dream come true.
“To see the children’s happy smiling faces in the pool today was just fantastic.
“The staff and all the children’s families are doing such a fabulous job here.
“With the Euro crisis and with what’s happening in the financial world, we may think we have problems but take a look at these children and think of the challenges they are facing in their everyday lives.
“They are the real superstars.”
Mrs Maxine Pittaway, head teacher at St Christopher’s, said: “We have been trying to raise the funds for the pool for over ten years and were starting to think that it was a dream that would never be realised.”
During that time staff, families and friends of the school all undertook a variety of fundraising events but their goal seemed unattainable.
And along the way there were other crises to deal with.
Mrs Pittaway continued: “We had a fire and the school buses were burnt out. Then we had a flood. But out of the gloom came The Morgan Foundation – and we just can’t thank them enough.
“The pool is going to make a big difference to our pupils.
“It’s really hard to imagine what it’s like to be unable to move your legs and having to rely on someone else to do it for you.
“Hydrotherapy sessions give the children the chance to be in control of their own body. The sessions help with their balance, confidence and gives them a sense of freedom and movement that they would not otherwise ever enjoy.”
After the opening of the pool, pupils put on a top class nautical themed concert for guests with plenty of singing, dancing and rockin’ and rolling’ from the school band.
“Reach for the stars,” they blasted out. They were certainly doing that . . .
St Christopher’s pupils include children with severe, complex and profound learning difficulties; high functioning autism, Down’s syndrome, extreme emotional disturbance and physical impairments.
The school explores every possible avenue of opportunity to enhance the life experience of each child.
Pupils are prepared for adult life and equipped with skills that may help with future employment by working in the school’s many enterprises, which include a community café, a car valeting service, a charity shop, nursery and vegetable gardens, hair and beauty salon, and the opportunity to achieve the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award.