A SENSORY swimming pool for use by people with autism has been officially opened today.

Owned and run by Wirral charity Autism Together, and situated at its Raby Hall headquarters, it will be used by a wide range of people on the autism spectrum who access the organisation's services.

Funded by donations worth over £61,000, including £30,000 from Sport England, the pool was opened by mayor and mayoress, Tony and Barbara Smith this morning.

They were also invited, along with members of the community, to view the fully-refurbished facilities.

Along with modernised changing areas, designed to make people with autism feel as comfortable as possible, a sensory suite, generously donated by the Williams Family Foundation, has been installed in the pool area itself.

Terry Usher, head of Autism Together's community and vocational services, said: "The sensory suite allows swimmers to choose ambient sounds or their favourite songs, alter the lighting levels and even change the colour of the light to suit their mood.

"People with autism can be very sensitive to light and sound, so we have given them the opportunity to shape their own experience while using the pool.

"Swimming is a very calming exercise for those with autism, offering many positive benefits in terms of health and wellbeing.

"We anticipate swimmers will access the pool up to 30,000 times every year, so it really is a vital part of the service we offer.”

Mayor Tony Smith, said: "It was wonderful to be able to see the finished results of this exciting development.

"I'm sure these new pool facilities and, in particular, the fascinating sensory suite, will have a very positive impact on those who access them each week."