Making a splash in Castleford

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People with learning disabilities living in Castleford, West Yorkshire now have access to a regular weekly swimming session thanks to one member of the Care UK team.

Fraser Watson, Care UK’s Community Inclusion Manager, has just launched a new learning disability swim session at Castleford Swimming Pool. The swim takes place every Wednesday and, as well as Care UK residents, the swimming session is open to other people who have learning disabilities.

Fraser explains: “I was taking one of our residents swimming once a week and it occurred to me that there should be a swim session for people with learning disabilities. Castleford is a community swimming pool and it has adults-only, ladies-only and disabled-only sessions, but people with learning disabilities are part of the local community too.

“We had a month’s trial period so we could see how much demand there was for that type of session and it was a great success and it’s now a permanent fixture on the pool’s timetable. It’s the perfect session for people who haven’t tried swimming before to come and give it a go.

“Every activity I organise is open to the public as well as Care UK service users because I’m trying to break down barriers and enable our residents to socialise with people from other local services.”

Thanks to the success of the learning disability swim in Castleford, Fraser is now planning to approach the local council to look at the possibility of introducing a similar session at all pools in the area.

One person who has benefited from the new swimming session is Matthew has recently moved to Whitwood Grange, Care UK’s specialist support home for people with autism. Prior to living at Whitwood Grange, Matthew loved to go swimming once a week at a nearby private pool, however, his regular swimming sessions came to an end just before he moved.

When Matthew arrived at Whitwood Grange Fraser was keen to get him swimming again and went about arranging a time for him to visit Castleford Pool once a week.

To reintroduce swimming to Matthew’s weekly routine, Fraser put together a six week support plan and Matthew now goes swimming every Friday with his support worker and enjoys a snack and a drink afterwards.

Fraser said: “Matthew absolutely loves swimming, he really enjoys it. When he’s at home he tends not to socialise with the other residents very much, but when he’s in the pool he becomes much more confident and interacts with the other swimmers.”

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