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Nairn Hydrotherapy Trust

Please note that The Robertson Trust has published its new Giving Strategy. This sets out the priorities we will have when awarding funds through our open grants programme. The existing application form and guidelines can still be used until July 31st. In line with our existing procedures, we will aim to assess and present all applications received by this date to our September Board meeting. In the event that we are unable to do so, your application may be held until our November meeting. In such cases a member of staff will contact you and provide any assistance required to realign your application with the new Giving Strategy. Find out all you need to know here.

Nairn Hydrotherapy Trust (NHT) was founded in 1983 by local farming couple Alastair and Joanna McGregor, whose young son had benefited greatly from hydrotherapy treatment in London after a paralysing illness.

Having witnessed first-hand the therapeutic effects of exercise in water – including pain relief, reduction of muscle spasm and relaxation – they wished to make it available in the Highlands, where no provision existed. A feasibility study showed that there were at least 40 people in the local area who would benefit from hydrotherapy.

NHT opened its hydrotherapy pool in 1985. Located inside an attractive, chalet-style building in the grounds of the Nairn Town and County Hospital, it hosts hydrotherapy sessions for those who suffer from a range of conditions including arthritis, multiple sclerosis, brain damage, cerebral palsy and strokes. A fully qualified physiotherapist is in the water with patients at all times. 

Revenue funding of £6,00 a year over three years towards the annual running costs, which includes salaries of a hydrotherapist, the pool supervisor and maintenance costs for the pool. Around 80% of running costs are met through a combination of NHS funding and income from pool charges.

A small capital award of £4,000 towards the capital costs of extending the building to create an assessment suite where the hydrotherapist can assess patients both before and after treatment.

What’s happened so far with this project?
We treat about 450 patients annually, and each patient receives at least ten sessions of treatment, with additional sessions if required. The extension to the pool building to accommodate an assessment room is complete and operational. The physiotherapist can now assess a patient’s progress at the start, part-way through and at the end of each treatment in a dedicated room. Previously, this had to be done in the office, which was inconvenient to both staff and patients. The total cost of the extension and equipment was just over £24,000 and the contribution by The Robertson Trust made it all possible.

And what's still to come?
Over the last 33 years, the pool has provided a much-needed service for the area, the benefits of which have been appreciated by so many users. We continue to invest in the facility, for example we’re replacing the heat pump water system in view of considerable improvements made to the technology since our existing pump was installed.

What tips would you give to other organisations seeking funding for this kind of work?
Sometimes, and in this case for an expensive project, it is of great value to try and bring together a number of donors, and not rely solely on one organisation. Also, it is important to show that you are also contributing to the whole and not relying, solely, on others’ goodwill. Where appealing for a capital project, information flowing to donors is important as is a record of donors, so that in the eventuality of failure to meet the financial target, funds donated to donors may be returned, if they wish.

What difference does this funding award make to the work you do?
Thanks to the capital funding, our new assessment room gives our patients increased comfort and privacy, while the revenue award has quite simply allowed us to stay afloat and continue providing our service. NHT was established as a charity so that we’re able to raise funds to offset the running costs of hydrotherapy, thus enabling the hugely beneficial treatment for so many long-term and disabling illnesses, accidents and conditions to be available to all who need them. These words from one of our patients eloquently capture the positive impact of our service: “The treatment I have received at the pool has helped my condition tremendously where all else has failed. The benefits of being able to exercise in the warm water under expert guidance of the physiotherapist are second to none – it is amazing the exercises I can do in the water without pain. The physiotherapist is also skilled at massage, which I find very beneficial. The combination of both treatments has most definitely improved my quality of life. I cannot thank NHT enough.”

In order to successfully apply for funding under our Giving Strategy 2016-19, applicants must demonstrate how their work will contribute to one or more of the themes within the Trust's three new funding strands.

This application was eligible as a result of its fit with the following theme:

Funding Strand: Care and Wellbeing Theme 3: Supporting adults with life limiting, long term health conditions or disability to overcome barriers and remain involved with their communities


  • "Through our Care and Wellbeing funding strand, we are keen to support projects which provide people with the tools and resources they need to manage conditions and remain fully engaged with their community. The Nairn Hydrotherapy Trust has an excellent reputation in the local area and it has become an extremely important resource for people with a wide range of health issues, long term conditions and physical disabilities."

 Lesley Macdonald, Head of Giving