Access and inclusion at new Moorways Sports Village
Tue 1 Mar 2022
A Pool Pod, like this, will be installed at Moorways Sports Village. Image courtesy of Pool Pod.
When the new Moorways Sports Village opens in the Spring its state-of-the-art facilities will make it one of the most accessible and inclusive public buildings in Derby and the wider region.
The new £42 million leisure complex has been designed with ease of access in mind, from a car park of wider than usual 2.5m parking spaces, as well as bays for blue badge holders, to a lift to all floors which can also be used for safe evacuation in an emergency.
With its water park, 50m swimming pool and extensive leisure facilities the new centre is set to become a go-to destination, drawing visitors from across the city and wider region. Making the leisure offer as accessible and as inclusive as possible is vital to Derby City Council’s vision for Moorways.
Derby City Council met with members of the Council’s community Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Hub and Derby Deaf Club. The Council also received advice and guidance from its lead officers on equality and diversity and on visual impairment to make sure access was at the forefront of plans for the new building.
And the Council is working closely with its leisure operating partner, Everyone Active, to support the provision of affordable leisure opportunities and concessionary prices at the facility.
Inside Moorways Sports Village, the main 50m swimming pool already uses the latest technology with its moveable booms and floors. As well as a built-in lift and steps giving access into the pool, there is also a Pool Pod. This high-tech lift was first developed for the Aquatic Centre at London 2012, to provide Para swimmers and community users in the future with independent and dignified access into and out of the pool.
The teaching pool has an i-Swim hoist, which can be moved to wherever it’s needed. In the Water Park, the floor slopes gently into the leisure pool like a beach making it easy to get in and out, and an Easyroller plastic wheelchair is also available to assist customers.
The water temperature in the Teaching Pool and Water Park will be kept at a pleasantly warm 30 – 31C.
Facilities in the open plan, unisex changing area include accessible changing cubicles, toilets and showering facilities as well as a Changing Places toilet and changing room.
As well as the more advanced accessibility features, the building offers a welcome from the moment of arrival with the wider than usual parking spaces to complement the designated blue badge spaces near the main doors. There is gently sloping access to the doors, which open wide enough for wheelchair users.
Around the building, all signage has a good level of contrast to assist visually impaired customers and there are also Braille signs and pictograms. A hearing loop has been installed in the main reception area.
The reception area blends into the large open plan café area with views over both the water park area and the main swimming pool. Three lifts serve all floors of the building, giving access to the pools and changing area on the ground floor, and gym, fitness studios and meeting rooms upstairs.
One of the lifts is a designated evacuation lift to allow for the safe and dignified evacuation of disabled people in the event of an emergency.
A spokesperson for Derby City Council said:
“When Moorways Sports Village opens in the Spring, Derby will have a leisure complex to be proud of, and making the building as accessible and inclusive as possible makes it easier for everyone to enjoy the fantastic facilities on offer.
“We’d like to thank the disabled people, with a range of impairments, who gave their time to help this project. Their contribution has been invaluable.
“We have always been clear that this public building will offer affordable leisure for everyone in the community, a commitment we share with our leisure operating partner and we’re now looking forward to seeing the complex open and busy.”
Simon Fearn, Everyone Active’s regional contract manager, said:
“As opening day draws ever closer, we are so excited to welcome the public to this outstanding facility.
“Moorways Sports Village caters for all ages, abilities and interests and will be a centre for the whole community to be truly proud of.”