Our team of Occupational Therapists and sports coaches have all completed training to integrate Floatsation inclusive swimming equipment, into pool sessions at Witham Leisure Centre. 
“Adding the use of this equipment into our inclusive swim sessions will enhance the experience for participants, supporting independence, relaxation and play in the water,” says Cara McCarthy, Sport For Confidence Occupational Therapist. “Witham Leisure Centre offers excellent accessibility to the pool, benefiting from a Pool Pod, accessible changing spaces and a hoist to support transfers within the accessible changing room. Now, through the integration of this new equipment we can ensure participants gain maximum benefit from their pool time.” 
Designed by 9 times Paralympic medallist and 6 times World Champion, Martin Mansell, Floatsation is a swimming aid made of a unique matrix of balls giving total support, flexibility and independence in the water to people of all abilities, disabled and non-disabled, young and old. 
Martin explains: “In addition to the multitude of proven physical benefits associated with swimming, immersion in water also offers many therapeutic benefits, making it an ideal activity for many people with cognitive and mobility impairments. Through the use of Floatsation, we improve the accessibility of swimming for those who struggle to support themselves in the water, making them feel safe, secure and able to enjoy the unique sensation of being in water taken for granted by many non-disabled people.” 
Floatsation equipment is available at Witham Leisure Centre now, thanks to funding from Sport England’s Tackling Inequalities Fund and the Be More Bailey Charitable Foundation. Sport For Confidence has also used the funding to secure a second Floatsation equipment pack that will be uitilised by Basildon Sporting Village Leisure Centre. 
Cara adds: “The pandemic has had a profound effect on many people and research has shown that those with a disability have been hit particularly hard. Initial data from ongoing research into community assets being undertaken by the Anglia Ruskin University has found that the effects of the pandemic-related lockdowns and restrictions have been highly detrimental to many people with physical disabilities, leading to, for example, muscle wastage and the deterioration of conditions such as Multiple Sclerosis. 
“So, this investment is incredibly timely. The rate of participation in swimming among disabled people lags far behind the rest of the population. According to Sport England’s Active People Survey, 2,912,800 non-disabled adults in the UK swim once or more per week compared to just 331,500 UK adults with a disability. Through investment in specialist equipment such as Floatsation we are tackling this inequality and working towards a more equitable society where everybody is able to access and enjoy the facilities and services they need to lead a happy, healthy fulfilling life.” 
For more information Floatsation, visit: www.floatsation.com 
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