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Beginners develop swimming skills with Rutland Rotaract Family Support Centre

Rutland Rotaract Family Support Centre aims to provide social, recreational, educational and therapeutic support to children and young people with special educational needs and their families.

Based in Oakham, the Centre organises regular activities during term-time including swimming and riding lessons, Film Club, Choir and Family Support Drop-in sessions.  They also organise a range of holiday activities and social events, days out and summer picnics and are the only local provider of this type of support for families living in Rutland and the surrounding area.

Funding of £659 from the High Sheriff of Rutland’s Fund helped the Centre provide swimming lessons to small groups and individuals during the summer term last year at Oakham CofE for its youngest beginner swimmers with special educational needs or disabilities. Swimming is one of the most accessible forms of exercise for those with disabilities, and the Centre helps this group of children overcome challenges posed by a normal pool environment. For example, where a child with autism may experience heightened anxiety due to sensory overload in a busy, noisy pool environment, the Centre offers a quieter, calmer environment in which to develop their skills.  Likewise, a child with a physical disability may struggle to keep their head above water in a larger group of swimmers but be able to develop their skills in a small group or individually with appropriate physical support to access lessons.

At the end of the summer term Rutland Rotaract were able to present all the children who had attended swimming lessons with certificates recognising their achievements, ranging from “entering the water with a smile” to 500m distance awards.

If you’d like to set up a fund to help local people please contact Katy Green at Leicestershire and Rutland Community Foundation on 0116 262 4804.