Brio gets community swimming together!14 Dec

Brio gets community swimming together!

We recently worked with local community groups to support our quest for encouraging more people to take up swimming, and our latest story comes from the successes in Ellesmere Port Sports Village, with parents from the Westminster Families group in Ellesmere Port, saying our partnership has also helped to boost the wellbeing of children and adults.

Throughout the summer holidays, up to 50 residents took part in weekly swimming sessions at Brio Leisure’s Ellesmere Port Sports Village, and the initiative has also been supported by the Welcome Network, which has also funded healthy lunches for those taking part.

Mum of three, Lisa Denson, set up the sessions with Brio’s Operations Manager, Kerry Goryl.

“Summer holidays can be difficult for families. Keeping children entertained and finding something to do can be costly and it’s not always possible to access activities.

“This initiative has been a real success for our community and it’s involved different age groups from children to grandparents. Seeing smiles on peoples faces, seeing parents interacting with their children and at the same time building a community where people care and help people out, has been brilliant,” she said.

Lisa set up the Westminster Families group with her friend Jacqui Coombes after moving into the area.

“I was a stay-at-home mum with three small children, I suffered from postnatal depression and felt socially-isolated. I also had financial restrictions and not a lot was happening in the area, so I thought I needed to do something to help myself,” said Lisa, a former high street retail manager.

The friends staged a fund-raising community event and were amazed by the response.

“What started off as a bit of a lifeline for me, turned into something much bigger. We are committed to building our community and providing free or low cost activities for local families is an essential part of this,” she added.

As a result of the sessions, some of the families have taken up swimming lessons and awareness of fitness and healthy eating has also improved.

Kelly Littler, 40, whose children are 10 and six, has just moved to Westminster Road.

“I work as a carer and midday assistant in a school but it is a struggle to keep the kids entertained and juggle work commitments. I think it’s very easy for children to do nothing, especially during school holidays, so this activity is great.  Mine really look forward to these sessions. They socialise and make new friends. The fact that there have been other families from the local community here has also given the parents more confidence to take part. The sense of community has grown and grown, children and parents now look forward to everything the group does,” she said.

Michelle Roberts, 38, mother of two children aged 10 and nine, said the scheme had provided her family with the opportunity to experience new activities and also helped boost her son’s confidence.

“Normally it would be too difficult and too costly for us to access these types of facilities without the support of Brio Leisure. My son has ADHD and autism as well as suffering from anxiety so it’s often a real struggle to get him out. Plus we don’t drive and would need to take a taxi to and from the centre – with no guarantee that my son would take part in the sessions when we got here,” she said.

“The way in which the activities have been organised has been perfect. My son has coped really well, probably because he’s made new friends and he enjoys swimming, but also because he’s with others from our community.

“I have been blown away by how much my children have enjoyed the activities. I’ll even be sorry to see them go back to school,” she added.

Our Operations Manager, Kerry Goryl said: “The sessions have been funded through Brio’s partnership with Sport England to encourage more involvement and access to swimming sessions. Thanks also to the Welcome Network, we’ve also been able to raise awareness of healthy food and nutrition.

“It’s been a great project that has seen this group engaging in a fun, physical activity once a week. I think it’s been so successful because the group has encouraged each other to get involved,” she added.

Brio is now looking at continuing to work with the community group on follow up fitness sessions.

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