Giles Leisure is one swimming pool company that won’t be in hot water despite the tough economic climate and increasingly erratic winters. Passionate about getting more people to swim and creating a weather-proof extension to the business, Giles Leisure has created a unique Hydrotherapy Centre at its pool shop in Lewes, East Sussex. The stunning 250 m2 centre features a 6.5m x 3.4m hydrotherapy pool, bistro-style coffee shop and an outdoor seating area which has been beautifully landscaped. On 22 June Norman Baker MP for Lewes and Parliamentary Under Secretary for the Department for Transport, and the Mayor of Lewes, Cllr Michael Chartier, will officially open the new hydrotherapy centre. They will be joined at the champagne reception by the staff of Giles Leisure and many long standing customers.
A family business, Giles Leisure has been providing swimming pools, hot tubs, saunas and pool chemicals to private and commercial clients throughout Sussex for over 25 years and the £100,000 investment in the Hydrotherapy Centre is its most ambitious development plan in its history. Director, Alex Howell explained: “We wanted to create something that is of genuine value to the local community and also provides revenue for Giles 365 days a year. It takes real conviction to expand during a weak economy, particularly with a brand new idea. But we are convinced that a hydrotherapy pool would be a big attraction because there are so few swimming outlets in Brighton, yet a growing need for facilities across the age spectrum,” said Alex Howell. Giles Leisure’s Hydrotherapy Centre is off to a flying start – ahead of the official launch and just three days into trading, Giles Leisure has sold 45% of the 50 hours per week available for booking. Demonstrating the diversity of clients, regular bookings include two large baby swim schools and South Down Housing Association which has reserved for adults with disabilities. The hydrotherapy pool appeals to the housing association’s clientele because the water is kept at a constant warm temperature and the Centre is much quieter than public baths. Hydrotherapy pools offer health benefits for many conditions including arthritis; joint, muscle, circulation and nerve problems; stress and sleep disorders. The football club has shown interest in using the pool for injured players and the Giles team are talking to retirement/sheltered homes, sports injury clinics and GP surgeries to stimulate bookings.
The Hydrotherapy Centre is open between 9.00am and 7.00pm Monday to Saturday, with plans to extend to seven days per week. There is no membership – clients simply book a time slot in advance for private use for 60 or 30 minutes at £54.00 and £27.00 respectively. Public swim sessions can be booked for £7.00 per 30 minutes. The Centre is managed by 21 year old Tom Howell, previously a pool service engineer with Giles Leisure.
Tom is responsible for customer service, site visits, marketing and health and safety including a strict cleaning regime involving full sanitisation twice a day and maintaining a strict ‘no shoes’ policy in the pool area. “Five years ago, we handled the pool installation at the Little Dippers Centre in Brighton and learned a great deal about creating a truly consumer friendly leisure facility. Our Hydrotherapy Centre is light, airy and spacious, there is easy access from reception to
the pool area, it’s fully disabled compliant including parking for all needs, and has changing rooms for mums and dads because both parents are involved with their children’s swimming. “Maintaining water quality at peak performance is essential. We’re obviously using Zeoclere30 filter medium, the best means of filtering on the market for all pools, and Jolly Gel flocculent to help with filtration and maintain beautiful water clarity. Jolly Gel creates a porous, clear membrane over the filter media and penetrates the bed to an average depth of 15cm, removing even the finest dust particles and algae spores. It encapsulates the particles and holds them to the bed via a mild glutinous formulation that is flushed away during the backwash cycle. Jolly Gel offers multiple benefits – there is no hint of clouding or residual dust, it reduces chlorine consumption and works efficiently for up to three weeks; saving time and money on maintenance. “We’re also using a state-of-the art Certikin automatic dosing system to manage the chlorine level – this ensures that the water is safe and gentle enough for a baby’s skin” said Alex.