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Student creates an ADHD friendly vision for Tarlair while gaining her degree

One of the designs produced by Nichaela Richardson on what Tarlair could look like if transformed
One of the designs produced by Nichaela Richardson on what Tarlair could look like if transformed

A student, who was inspired by her brother and her favourite place has unveiled her vision of what the Tarlair Swimming Pools could look like in the future.

Nichaela Richardson had been studying interior and spatial design at Edinburgh Napier University when the time came to organise her final-year project – essentially a year-long focus on somewhere that could be given a new lease of life.

Having grown up in Macduff, one of her favourite places to visit was at Tarlair, so she said the choice of location for her project was easy.

Miss Richardson, 21, also took inspiration from her brother, Kieran.

Swimmers take to the sea to raise money and awareness of the Tarlair pool site

She said: “Kieran has ADHD and I think it’s a condition which is widely known, but it’s not completely understood.

“A lot of people think it is bad behaviour and you get medicinal treatment but then you are left to it.

“But there’s quite a lot of social constructs that can impact it.

“So, I wanted to create a sensory environment with social constructs that would help build their confidence.

“It can be hard for Kieran, who is 14, to focus in school, so having a space you can go to and interact with people and not be isolated helps people like him get away from things they find hard in day-to-day life.”


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Miss Richardson did research into ADHD for her dissertation before taking on the design project and found very few sensory rooms were tailored to people with the condition. Her concepts focused on people having space to explore and take part in interactive play.

And it garnered great interest in her designs across the country.

She added: “I visited the site to see where I could use the water and the colours and create something that would be a bit different.

“Once it was complete, myself and nine class mates were invited to showcase our work at the 2019 Interior Design at Free Range degree show in London.

“Tarlair has been such an influential place to me, so it has been really good to showcase it, showing people how nice it is now and then showing my designs.

“I have done a big take on the site, adding an underwater floor and creating a divide in the building, but it just shows it could become anything.”

FROM THE ARCHIVES: The day Tarlair hosted two of the country’s biggest bands

Graduating last month, Miss Richardson received a first-class honours for her Edinburgh Napier degree and is now a qualified interior and spatial designer.

Tarlair will be hosting its annual gala on Sunday from noon to 4pm to raise money for the Friends group.

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