Woking’s Pool in the Park launches new dementia friendly swimming sessions and is set to become a dementia friendly site.
Pool in the Park, operated by us on behalf of Woking Borough Council, is launching new dementia friendly swimming sessions on 7 September, after a successful trial at K2 Leisure Centre in Crawley, West Sussex.
Thanks to £7000 of funding through Woking Borough Council’s; Personalisation, Partnership Prevention Fund, the scheme is available to the local community in and around Woking.
The programme was initially developed in 2015 by the Amateur Swimming Association and the Department of Health’s; Innovation, Excellence and Strategic Development Fund, with additional funding from Sport England, to enhance the swimming experience of those living with dementia.
The new sessions at Pool in the Park will take place between 2.00pm – 3.00pm each Wednesday for those who are 50+, while the centre is also working towards becoming a dementia friendly site.
The sessions are designed to open up swimming to those with dementia, and are suitable for all abilities. They are led by qualified swimming teachers, trained to give dementia friendly support.
Eleven members of staff at the centre have gone through specialised training, in order to support visitors with dementia, and a site audit is in progress, to ensure the building including signage, changing rooms and lockers provides the best possible experience for those suffering with dementia.
Kathryn Dennehy, Freedom Leisure Sports Development Manager for Woking, says, “We are delighted to be the second Freedom Leisure Centre in the UK to adopt the dementia friendly swimming scheme, and the first to put on designated weekly sessions. Pilots suggest that swimming brings many physical and social benefits to people living with dementia. Aside from keeping them active, it can help clear the mind and provides a stronger sense of self-worth and a reduction in loneliness.
Dennehy adds, “However, these sessions are not only for those with dementia but for their carers too. Carers can join the sessions, or take the time to swim alone at the special rate, giving them some “me time” in the pool.”
“We want England to be the best place in the world to live with dementia, in communities that are more dementia friendly.”Jane Ellison, Public Health Minister