Fylde Sharks is a community swimming group (formerly known as St Annes Sharks) for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities from the ages of 5 to 18 years from the Fylde.
In March 2011 we received a grant of £7,848 from Fylde Children and Young People's Trust. The grant has allowed Fylde Sharks to continue to provide a short break service to approximately 30 to 40 families by providing swimming sessions to children and young people with disabilities.
We teach water confidence, swimming strokes, exercise and social interaction by providing two-hour swimming sessions at YMCA St Annes Swimming Pool on alternate Saturdays and two hours at Kirkham Rural Splash Pool on alternate Sundays.
All our teachers are experienced and qualified, with their own national governing body insurance. Supporting the five swimming teachers is a care worker, who assists children with disabilities at the sessions.
During the two-hour pool booking, the teachers offer a 40 minute one-to-one swimming session to each child or young person in a safe and controlled environment with only disabled swimmers (and their carers or family members) being allowed to access the pool.
This means that children who were previously unable to access regular swimming sessions due to their disabilities can now learn to swim with Fylde Sharks.
What worked well...
We sent questionnaires out with the newsletters to all club members asking for their views on the club, ideas for improving the service we offer and also feedback on the benefits of the club. We were delighted with the responses received and here are a couple of quotes from questionnaires received:
"One-to-one swimming instruction is very important. It means Adam is pushed to swim properly and learn good technique. It is also a great break for us as parents. Even with us watching, it is an activity Adam can do with another adult rather than us. In addition, the sessions allow for Adam's learning difficulties and so lessons are appropriate for his ability to understand."
"My son has come on leaps and bounds from having one-to-one. He needs to be continually pushed and having the teacher's full attention really helps. He loves the lessons and I, as a parent, enjoy the company and chat with other parents and helpers. My son would not manage in a group swimming lesson as he would be easily distracted and would not give his best."
We receive positive feedback verbally from parents on a fortnightly basis, telling us how the swimming lessons have had a positive effect on their children not only in the pool, but also at school and socially.
Every time, families have to book in their children for the session: this is our record of achievement. Fylde Sharks Swimming Club is expanding, we have recruited another swimming teacher to cope with the demand.
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