Borough Insight

Innovative new programme helps families experiencing barriers to sports participation

Epsom & Ewell Borough Council, in partnership with leisure operator and social enterprise GLL, has secured an award from Sport England, funded by the National Lottery, for an innovative new swimming programme which started in February. The scheme is aimed at residents experiencing barriers to sports and leisure participation, including families who have moved to the borough as refugees and families on low incomes.

50 people enrolled on the course which involved small, group swimming lessons at Rainbow Leisure Centre in Epsom. Participants were referred to the course by partners.

Epsom & Ewell Borough Council and GLL are contributing additional funds and resource so that participants aged four to eleven can continue weekly swimming lessons until 31 May 2024.

Families, including those taking part in the swimming programme and others, have also been offered three months of subsidised access to Rainbow Leisure Centre, to help them increase activity levels and build positive habits. 

Councillor Clive Woodbridge, Chair of the Community and Wellbeing Committee, said;

“Swimming can be a lot of fun and is fantastic exercise; but it is also a vital and potentially even life-saving skill.

"In addition to swimming, residents who take part in this scheme will be able to access facilities such as football pitches, basketball courts, badminton courts, and the gym, more easily.

"Our vision at Epsom & Ewell Borough Council is that all our residents can keep healthy and active, with easy access to health and wellbeing services. We are delighted that this award will help us work towards fulfilling that vision, particularly for residents who may not have been able to access these leisure services before.”

David Hughes, GLL partnership manager for Epsom & Ewell GLL added:

“The physical and mental health benefits that swimming can offer are well documented and this new programme has been designed to reach groups that may not otherwise have had access to local swimming provision.

“The feedback we have received from participating families has been phenomenal.  The tailored support our expert swimming teachers have offered, has helped participants to build confidence, improved their water skills and really enjoy their time in the water.”

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