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Name: Steve Southwell

Member since: 2016

Tell us about your business:
We are three NHS physiotherapists currently working with children and adults with complex physical and neurological disabilities. In addition to this work, we rent a private heated swimming pool at the weekends to offer aquatic therapy for this client group. This has proved to be very successful and popular. Our aim is to significantly expand this aquatic therapy service to addresses on our waiting list, and also to treat other client groups in the Sussex community. The service ethos will be to provide an ethical, accessible and affordable facility to a wide range of users in the community.

The beginning - your ‘eureka’ moment:
In addition to his NHS work, Steve works in a care home for adults with profound and multiple learning and physical disabilities. In 2011 the care home opened an aquatic therapy pool, and the health benefits of regular treatment became very apparent. Steve offered pool sessions to a disabled young man not living at the care home, and word quickly got out that this wonderful facility was available to the community. Without any advertising, the sessions were booked and Steve recruited Jo to meet the demand.

The best and the worst of times:
The best of times is every aquatic therapy session. Working in the heated water is always a pleasure. The water and our handling techniques enable our clients to achieve physical movements that they cannot on land. Jo and Steve also took great pleasure from winning the 2016 Santander “Most Enterprising Community Project” award. It was very reassuring that members of the business community recognised the potential of our service. There has not been a worst of times. Although we regularly have to turn away requests for sessions due to the lack of our pool time and other work commitments.

What gets you out of bed in the morning - what motivates you?:
It is a privilege to be working with the families and carers involved in the treatment for our disabled clients. Working in the pool is such a wonderfully enabling experience.

Luck or skill - what gets your further?:
Treating our disabled clients using our physiotherapy talents is a skill.

Define ‘entrepreneur’:
A person that is able to creatively generate workable solutions to real problems.

Moving on up - your ambitions and the next big thing:
We hope to move out of our small rented pool into a purpose built unit with multiple pools and land-based physiotherapy facilities.

Your top tips:
Find your passion, then make that your job.

What others say about you and your business:
The best thing that has happened to our child.

Hydrotherapy is an amazing therapy for Louie. It gives him freedom, independence, opportunities that are sometimes painful on land, and opportunities to learn new skills that can be transferred into other activities. He has recently learned to kick in the water. He is now kicking a ball which is something that we thought would never happen. So hydrotherapy is just the best thing that we could ever ask for. Testimonial by Mother of a client

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