Jellybean has always been active in supporting a wide range of charities in its 34-year history and this year is no exception.  In 2019 we helped build classrooms in the Gambella region of Ethiopia and in 2020 we supported a programme to continue education for girls in Zimbabwe as they struggled through the impacts of the global pandemic.

This year we have looked much closer to home and decided to support 2 local Surrey charities the first of which is White Lodge a wonderful purpose built 2-acre site in Chertsey which needs urgent help to refurbish and save their hydrotherapy pool.

White Lodge provides services that enable those with a range of disabilities, their families and carers to lead fulfilling lives. It supports over 2,500 individuals of all ages and abilities across Surrey through a diverse range of services that include physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech and language therapy, specialist nursery, hydrotherapy, holiday clubs, personal support in the home, short breaks (respite), fitness and rehabilitation and many activities such as trips out, art, baking, swimming, and much more. Through individual assessments its team of highly experienced staff enable those with disabilities to reach their potential through tailored programmes.

White Lodge is a unique place providing a safe haven and essential support.  The friendly and dedicated staff treat everyone with great respect and the daily activities and services are totally inclusive regardless of age and level of disability. Plus, it offers essential respite, companionship and strength to families and carers who are impacted in their daily lives.

The jellybean donation is specifically for the Hydrotherapy Pool which is at the heart of White Lodge and is a lifeline to so many.  The pandemic has compounded the isolation and loneliness that people with disability suffer from, and this facility has been their only opportunity to access any kind of physical activity in a safe and secure environment. The benefits to their physical health and mental wellbeing are massive.

Hydrotherapy is an evidence based, specialist treatment that uses the properties of water to treat a wide range of conditions. The temperature is kept at a constant 33-35 degrees centigrade which helps with muscle relaxation and reduces pain and muscle spasms. In addition, the buoyancy and resistance of the water helps improve stability, lessens pressure on joints and promotes the restoration and maintenance of movement and function.

White Lodge is now the only hydrotherapy facility in north Surrey providing a wonderful resource and support to a total of 156 children and 338 adults, that equates to a total of 3,158 separate sessions a year and it is in constant use 7 days a week.

The dedicated and experienced therapists run Hydrotherapy sessions in all the following areas:

Neurological: Focussing on mobility, joint range and flexibility, muscular strength and endurance, core stability, balance and posture. All with a view to reduce muscle spasms and aid relaxation of the whole body helping to maximise independence, increase confidence and offer freedom in the water. This therapy also supports communication and social skills. This is ideal for individuals with conditions such as Cerebral Palsy, Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson’s and Motor Neurone’s Disease.

Rehabilitation: Use of the water to aid joint movement and flexibility improve strength and independence. This can be enormously beneficial for people recovering from a stroke or brain injury.

Palliative Care: Including those who suffer with a clinical need and deteriorating conditions. The warm water offers pain relief, relaxation and an improved feeling of wellbeing.

Respite and Youth and Play Schemes: For many of our young users who have an Autistic Spectrum Disorder or are diagnosed with Downs Syndrome, the Hydrotherapy Pool offers access to physical activity in a safe and protected environment with no fear of repercussions. Children on the autistic spectrum often have impairment and functional limitation such as poor core stability, decreased physical strength, poor eye contact and communication skills.  The Hydrotherapy Pool promotes social interaction between the children, routine and enjoyment with their peers.

In the words of one user “My Hydrotherapy sessions are a great benefit to my overall wellbeing. Not only do they help me physically by enabling me to move my limbs that don’t work on dry land but also mentally by uplifting my spirits throughout the week”.

The Hydrotherapy Pool was originally opened in 1964 and last refurbished in 1997. The 2021 project plan is to modernise, reconfigure and refurbish the existing footprint. The Hydrotherapy Pool offers users and families a personal lifeline but without refurbishment and necessary replacement of specialised equipment this wonderful resource will have to close.

The high demand and growing need in the area means the current facility is unsuitable and not fit for purpose to provide for the future.  The planned improvements will include extra privacy and enhanced dignity, better accessibility and greater choice of equipment to aid transfers from changing bays to the pool and efficient and enhanced Infection and climate control, security, energy efficiency and productivity.  The new facility will provide a clean and modern environment for a better user experience and increased motivation and engagement.

During the pandemic White Lodge has seen a 66% decline in income received via traditional fundraising streams but has seen a huge increase in demand for services. In Surrey alone there are 10,500 children and young people with disabilities aged 0 to 19 and 5.7 % of adults have a long-term illness or disability.

The overall cost of the project is £139,000 and so far it has received £63,000 in capital grants and a £10,000 donation from jellybean.   White Lodge is actively seeking the help of local companies and organisations who would like to support their community by donating.

Read the words of some of the users to know what a vital lifeline this is:

“My weekly sessions in the Hydrotherapy Pool are the only opportunity I have to access any form of physical activity. It allows me to exercise at my own pace and speed which is more enjoyable as I am not under the same pressures I would feel in a public environment.”

“The safe and secure environment helps my son to focus and has improved his social interaction and communication skills. He has fun and is very happy during and after his sessions which is great for his health and mental wellbeing. He loves it so much if I could I would send him every day!”

“I love the feeling of freedom and independence in the water that I don’t get from being permanently in my wheelchair.”

“My Hydrotherapy sessions are a great benefit to my overall well-being. Not only do they help me physically by enabling me to move my limbs that don’t work on dry land but also mentally by uplifting my spirits throughout the week.”

I really hope that other local companies rally to the call and are able to make a donation to this vital project so that the Hydrotherapy Pool at White Lodge that literally improves the lives of hundreds of people is able to continue to support Surrey’s disabled community for the next 20 years.