A £60,000 appeal has been launched to refurbish a vital facility that is crucial to the learning of students with severe and complex needs.
The Dales School, Morton-on-Swale, provides specialist co-education to 50 students aged two to 19 from across the region, including County Durham, Teesside and North Yorkshire.
For the past 27 years it has been the only facility outside of the James Cook Hospital, Middlesbrough, to offer the community a hydrotherapy pool.
But the key facility is now in desperate need of refurbishment so the school can continue its invaluable work.
Friends of The Dales School have launched a £60,000 appeal to restore the pool to its former glory.
And with the help of appeal mascot Hydro Duck are appealing far and wide for much-needed funding.
The original pool was open 26 years ago by Olympic swimmer Adrian Moorhouse and footballer Bryan Robson. It replaced a facility lost with the closure of St John of God’s Hospital at Scorton.
Since then it has brought much needed relief to countless students many of who have undergone surgery or live with poor circulation.
Because it is much warmer than a traditional swimming pool, it has also helped many babies gain their first experience of the water.
Deputy head teacher Anne Baker said: “It has been used every single day and is in need of some urgent attention.”
Claire Turner, a senior physiotherapist with Harrogate and District NHS Foundation Trust, who works with the pupils, said: “It is an incredible facility for rehabilitation and physiotherapy, especially for people who have limited mobility and is a way of experiencing freedom of movement and relaxation.”
To catch the public imagination the appeal is being driven by Hyrdo Duck, a toy mascot who is travelling the world raising the profile of the appeal.
It just missed out on a trip to Everest base camp, has been to London, Norway, Egypt, the Bahamas and New York.
Hydro Duck’s globetrotting progress and timeline is being charted on its own Facebook page (www.facebook.com/fods2014), blog and Twitter (@FODS2014).
It is also hoped that supporters will upload videos of their fundraising efforts to You Tube. The logo was designed by parent Stephen Cocker.
More than £1,000 has already been raised thanks to supporters Wilson and Willoughby, of Northallerton, The Friends of The Dales School, Thorton-le-Beans Village Hall Committee, Tuesday Get Together, Bedale, and a quiz is being planned by the The Tickle Toby pub in Northallerton.
The last time The Dales School launched an appeal for a sensory room it raised £30,000 in a year.
Fundraisers hope to appeal to young and old, individuals, groups and corporate charity sources.
There is also an appeals pack and a host of Hydro Duck products, including desktop loose change collection buckets.
If the total is reached this time, work should start on the renovation in the summer holidays.
For more information on the appeal and how to help contact firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the website at www.thedalesschool.org.