Following the ribbon cutting, three-year-old Jessica Robertson, who joined the Centre when just a few weeks old, became the first guest to try out the new pool with her adopted family.
The new £500,000 state-of-the-art facility has been six months in design with building works having taken a further six months to complete. Now twice the size of its original footprint it offers a fun and calming mix of interactive mood lighting and water and music features. A distinctive full length window looks out onto the beautiful grounds and turns opaque at a flick of a switch.
The entire cost of the work has been paid for by the Alan Shearer Foundation, the dedicated fundraising arm of the Alan Shearer Centre.
“I have to pinch myself sometimes when I see what my Foundation has been able to achieve,” says Alan. “We set ourselves bold targets, but our incredible supporters have risen to the challenge. I’d like to thank everyone who has donated and helped to make this possible. It’s so important for me to know that my Foundation is making a real difference to the many thousands of people who use the Centre every year.’’
Alan’s tireless work for charity saw him awarded a CBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours earlier this year and Centre guests presented Alan with a very large hand-made card that they have been working on since hearing the wonderful news.
The Alan Shearer Centre, part of regional charity St Cuthberts Care, comprises a trio of services catering for people with disabilities. The specially adapted Activity Centre provides specialist sensory and therapeutic support for all ages, in a leisure-type setting.
Charity chief executive, Moira Ashman, says, “A few weeks ago we saw a fitting statue unveiled of Alan as an inspirational figure for our region; today is testimony to that honour. Not only have Alan’s efforts enabled our dream to become a reality, but Alan’s ongoing fundraising ensures our Activity Centre remains entirely free of charge, making it unique in our region. We really couldn’t have achieved this without Alan and I can’t thank him enough for his tremendous ongoing support.”
You can find out more information by visiting: www.alanshearercentre.org.uk.