Above: the gym at Share Village
The Leisure Suite which has been open for around 14 years was the only fully accessible gym facility in the local area which welcomed many people with disabilities and special needs and held a lot of specialist equipment. The building also hosted the Sperrins Lakeland Trust – Killadeas Day Care Centre, an IT Suite and classroom which provides learning opportunities for adults with special needs. Share have provided alternative temporary facilities for the day care centre however much of the equipment has been damaged beyond repair.
The building also contained two function rooms and male, female and staff changing rooms for activities which are now unusable by the general public. Management are currently looking into temporary replacements to cope with demand in the New Year. Fortunately the floods happened during the off peak season as Rory Martin – Share Marketing Officer suggests, “The damage to the building has meant that we have had to move all waterfront operations to other buildings. As water sports’ are among our more popular activities, the only blessing is that it did not happen during our busy season as it would have made it extremely difficult to provide changing facilities for up to 400 people per day partaking in activities.”
Above: the pool
Share would like to show their appreciation for the many calls that they have received from many local organisations, groups and individuals offering support. It will affect the whole community as Oliver Wilkinson, Share Chief Executive, suggests, “The closure of the swimming pool and leisure suite will affect the 250 members from the local area as it is estimated that it will be out of action until September 2010 at the earliest. Our heart goes out to all those staff, volunteers and people in the local community who helped fund raise to make the building possible all those years ago, we may have to call upon their support once again in the new year!”
At this stage staff and management are concentrating on salvaging any equipment. Work has begun lifting the many tiles and carpets etc throughout the building. Much of the plaster on the walls and roofs will need taken off, professionally dried and replaced as Robert Livingstone Share General Manager explains
“It is a common misperception that a pool area would not be overly affected by the influx of water; however this area is generally very warm and in a short space of time was reduced to minus temperatures. The whole area was under water for over ten days, which has meant that the building has expanded. We are already witnessing signs of the damage as the building contracts, now that the water has drained, with cracks appearing throughout the building and tiles coming off the walls and swimming pool surface. My main worry was if we had a widespread frost, there could have been substantial structural damage to the bricks resulting in a complete rebuild. We will be looking into flood defence systems to ensure this does not affect us to the same extent again”.
Although the Centre has been badly affected by the floods, the only part of the 65 acre site that is closed is the leisure suite and gym complex with its waterfront location. The rest of the centre remains open for business, providing a valuable service to able bodied and disabled visitors from across the Province in a wide range of water, arts and land based activity holidays.