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Island leisure centre makeover to help disabled
A Portland leisure centre is celebrating a disabled-friendly makeover and is looking to the future.
Osprey Leisure Centre has three new gym areas as well as a disabled friendly reception area compete with ramp access and new disabled toilet.
The funding for the project came from Sport England and Weymouth and Portland Borough Council .
The centre is a former Royal Naval facility in Castletown . Since 2007 it has been run by the South Dorset Community Sports Trust when the borough council passed over management.
General manager of the trust Nigel Williams said it was the final stage in the improvements the community had wanted to see.
He said: “All the improvements we have done incorporate the final wishes of the community when they voted in 2009 what they wanted the money spent on from the development of the Olympic village.
“Because it was built on ex-recreational community space they had a commitment to the community.
“There were four remaining things the community wanted to see – improved access for disabled people, an extension of the gym, a children’s gym and improvements in the fitness options for a more mature market.”
To this end the gym now has a disabled ramp and new reception area and a new gym area that can be accessed by those in a wheelchair and those with visual impairment.
It features bright yellow adjustable parts on the equipment to make it easier for visual impaired people to see.
There is also a cardiovascular and resistance area with machines with hydraulics so that there is a ‘very, very limited’ chance of anyone injuring themselves. This has been specially designed with the over- 11s in mind but could also be used by beginners and more mature customers. There is also a third gym area for body building.
Mr Williams said: “It’s what the community wanted.
“But it’s also what Sport England and the borough council and the development money for the Olympic village was for – to give the community what they wanted and create income for ourselves as a charity.”
The leisure centre has just hosted disabled artist Sue Austin in her Creating the Spectacle artwork as part of the Maritime Mix London 2012 Cultural Olympiad by the Sea.
Using her specially adapted wheelchair she zoomed along underwater.
Mr Williams said that together with Mrs Austin they would be looking at applications for funding and that in the future they would love to host a disabled dive centre at Osprey.
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