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Dementia friendly swimming added to Waterside Farm Leisure Centre

Waterside Farm Leisure Centre, Canvey Island, is now more accessible than ever thanks to the expansion of the inclusive sports programme delivered by award winning social enterprise, Sport For Confidence which helps create sporting opportunities for those who face barriers to participation.

In partnership with the Dementia Community Support Team, from February 27, Sport For Confidence will be offering fully staffed, dementia friendly, swimming sessions every Wednesday at 12:00-12:45hrs.

Jack Edgar, Head Sports Coach at Sport For Confidence, says: “Swimming is a great activity which benefits all. It is particularly beneficial to people living with dementia as the sensation of being in the water can provide a calming and soothing effect. These sessions recognise that those attending will appreciate a quiet, controlled environment and may need a little extra support and encouragement during their visit.”

Diane Webster, Dementia Navigator for Canvey Island, Dementia Community Support Team, says: “Having dementia friendly swimming session will benefit local people living with dementia and help them to maintain an active lifestyle in a safe and supported environment. Sport for Confidence and Waterside Farm Leisure Centre teams have created a program and environment that will have a positive impact on both carers and the person living with dementia.”

Dementia friendly swim sessions will be delivered by a Waterside Farm swim coach and a specialist Sport For Confidence Sports Coach, as well as an informal support group for the carers.  In addition, Sport For Confidence will also be delivering a Dementia friendly seated exercise group on a Wednesday, alongside a yoga session specifically for the carers.

Cassie Searle, Dementia Action Alliance Co-ordinator, Dementia Community Support Team, says: “I am extremely pleased to see the Dementia Friendly activities launching in Waterside Farm, Canvey Island, due to the joint effort of the Dementia Community Support Team and Sports For Confidence.

“The sessions will encourage those living with Dementia to access sporting sessions and continue to reap the benefits from being involved in light physical activity. Carers & families will also have the chance to undertake yoga sessions, in the hope that the carers/family will feel empowered to take a bit of “me” time during their busy and often stressful lives.

“Canvey Island’s Dementia Navigator will also be in attendance, should families & carers or the person with Dementia would like some more support.”

Sport For Confidence will also be delivering a range of other sporting activities via regular weekly sessions. Delivered by a Sports Coach, and supported by an Occupational Therapist every session is adapted to cater for the individual needs of participants. Sports currently offered include Boccia, basketball and multi-sports. Everyone is welcome, regardless of ability. The emphasis is on fun and meaningful inclusion so that all attending can enjoy the many health and social benefits associated with being active.

Lucy Goldup, Occupational Therapist at Sport For Confidence, adds: “In the coming months we very much hope to grow the programme in terms of participants, number of sessions per week and the variety of activities. Our model follows a proven, award-winning formula that has the flexibility to adapt to local needs and preferences. Waterside Farm Leisure Centre is a fantastic facility and we want it to be utilised by as wide a segment of the community as possible.

In addition to these sessions, Sport for Confidence is also working with community partners including SEEVIC College and Brockfield forensic mental health unit to deliver bespoke sessions to people who would otherwise find it difficult to access physical activity and sporting opportunities.

Cllr P Varker, Cabinet Member for Environment and Leisure said: “Accessing sport and being given opportunities to be physically active should be the right of everyone in the community. Working in partnership with Sport For Confidence and other community groups we are able to connect with hard to reach individuals, including persons with Dementia and their carers to provide a tailored service which matches their needs. It is our ultimate goal to provide a quality leisure service for all.”

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