Specialist sports centre opens in Gloucester

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A new sports centre for inclusive exercise and leisure facilities.

The highly anticipated Chamwell Centre, situated at the Milestone Special School in Longlevens, will provide pupils, disabled adults and children from across the wider Gloucestershire community with access to a range of sports activities and services.

Designed by Gloucester-based Quattro Architects, and built by Malvern contractors Speller Metcalfe the building was formally handed over last week.

Andy Metcalfe, joint managing director at Speller Metcalfe, said: “This special project required a very high level of care and consideration due to the location of the centre in the middle of the school grounds and the additional needs of pupils. We are delighted to see it come to fruition, knowing that it will have a significant and positive impact on the students, their families and residents from across the county.”

The new centre features a hydrotherapy pool which replaces the school’s existing pool, interactive climbing wall, rebound therapy and trampolining gym, and indoor and outdoor play areas enabling children and adults of all abilities to exercise freely and participate in sports activities.

A two-storey therapeutic soft play and sensory room has also been installed, alongside specialist medical facilities, a multi-purpose physio and occupational therapy suite, community café and fully accessible Changing Places toilet facility.

Dr Marie Owen, chair of trustees at The Chamwell Centre, said: “We are delighted to see our dreams become a reality. This project was born out of the need to replace the old hydrotherapy pool at The Milestone School but it has produced something much more – the only centre of its type in the country, specifically designed to meet the needs of the disabled community through sport, therapy, play, leisure, and work experience – promoting the health and wellbeing of the whole community.

“It is a tribute to the dedication and professionalism of Speller Metcalfe, Quattro Architects and all those involved in the construction that this wonderful building has been realised, despite the restrictions and delays caused by the COVID-19 epidemic. They have succeeded in producing a state-of-the-art building, perfectly adapted to the needs of all our users.”

The project was made feasible after the Chamwell Centre Charity reached its fundraising target of £5.1 million in 2019:

Dr Owen added: “The centre has been built entirely through charitable donations to The Chamwell Centre Charity and we are grateful to all the many trusts, foundations and private individuals who helped to achieve this goal.”

The charity is now on a new mission to raise £230,000 to run the services required to support users in its first year. This includes supporting hydrotherapy for children and adults with severe physical disability, playdays, a special therapy nursery for 0-3 year olds and wheelchair sports activities.