An innovative swimming programme which supports local people who have had cancer has been recognised with a national award.
Chesterfield Borough Council was announced as the winner of the Swim England Health Impact Award at the Teaching and Education Awards 2021 for its delivery of ‘OutSwimming Cancer’ sessions at its leisure centre.
Since early 2020, residents in Chesterfield who have had cancer have been invited to take part in free, relaxed swimming session at Queen’s Park Sports Centre thanks to funding from Weston Park Cancer Charity.
The council was first approached about the session by one of its swimming instructors, Lesley Rechert, who realised the benefits that swimming could bring to people after their cancer treatment. Working with Lesley, the council was able to create a programme that provided swimming sessions for adults that would assist with their long term recovery.
Councillor Jill Mannion-Brunt, Chesterfield Borough Council’s cabinet member for health and wellbeing, said: “We are very proud of the team at Queen’s Park Sports Centre for achieving this award as they have put a huge amount of effort in to making the session a success.
“It’s important that everyone feels like they can pursue a healthy lifestyle and use our facilities to achieve this. Our staff at the centre are really supportive and it’s brilliant that we can offer this provision to people who are going through such a difficult time in their lives.
“Recovery from cancer can take a long time but swimming is really beneficial for the journey back to better health – it’s a great way for rebuilding your strength and confidence. Quiet sessions like OutSwimming Cancer aim to create an inclusive environment that is supportive as well as enjoyable.”
Swimming instructor, Lesley, added: “It is wonderful to see people enjoying the water again, increasing their swimming skills and regaining fitness and confidence. Our participants are very supportive to each other and you will be made to feel welcome whatever your level of swimming. We are very grateful for the support of Weston Park Cancer Charity.”
OutSwimming Cancer sessions continue to take place every Monday. Further information, including details on how to book a place can be found at www.chesterfield.gov.uk/sport-and-leisure/queens-park-sports-centre/out-swimming-cancer
Funding for the OutSwimming Cancer sessions is provided by Weston Park Cancer Charity with support from Chesterfield Borough Council. Swimmers must be fit and healthy enough to be in the swimming pool and are encouraged to speak to the GP before attending a session if they are unsure.
Ruby Osborn, Grants Manager at Weston Park Cancer Charity, said: “We’re thrilled that OutSwimming Cancer has been recognised by Swim England.
“Lesley and the team have created a wonderfully supportive environment to encourage people living with and beyond cancer to get into the pool and enjoy the benefits of swimming.
“The feedback we’ve had from participants shows how much of difference this programme is making and we look forward to the partnership continuing.”