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Health & Wellbeing

Crawley family support campaign to help parents rediscover family fun through swimming

Freedom Leisure and the Ward family are supporting Swim England to encourage parents to make the most of the fleeting nature of childhood and reconnect families through swimming in the second wave of the #LoveSwimming campaign.

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Time flies, especially when it comes to a growing family. Making the most of those precious moments together can become more difficult as youngsters grow older – but there is one activity that all the family can enjoy at any age.

Swimming as a family is a journey that usually begins with lessons and learning a valuable lifesaving skill, but ends with hours of fun in the pool and spending time together.

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The impactful film released by Swim England and 11 swimming sector partners features a mum with her two children and illustrates the importance of spending time as a family and creating memories before children fly the coop.

Freedom Leisure, operators of K2 Crawley and the Bewbush Centre on behalf of Crawley Borough Council, engaged their members to encourage families to rediscover their love for swimming and record their swimming journey over four weeks. The Ward family, Mum Chrissie, Dad Chris, Son Adison 19, Lily-Beth 11 and Reenie 7, kicked off their four weeks with a fun family photoshoot.

Mum Chrissie Ward echoes the sentiments of mums and dads around the country and said:

“Swimming is an activity that still brings us together even after many years. We have two young girls and although they enjoy activities such as trampolining and cheerleading, swimming is something Chris and I can do with them too!

“But even better is the fact our 19 year old son will join us for a swim on occasions too! The girls absolutely love having him there for fun and games in the pool.

19 year-old Adison Ward with sisters Lily-Beth, 11 (left) & Reenie, 7 (right)

“I also suffer with fibromyalgia, and swimming allows be to have pain-free fun with the girls, while keeping me active.”

Ivan Horsfall-Turner, Freedom Leisure MD said:

“We are delighted to be partnering with Swim England because anything we can do collectively as an industry to engender an active nation is a good thing.

“As a leisure facility operator on behalf of local authority partners our priority is definitely to support local communities with living more active lifestyles, and swimming is one of the best ways to do this because it is so inclusive.

“Babies to grandparents, and everyone in-between, we are seeing the #LoveSwimming campaign bring families together and we are very much looking forward to seeing how far this campaign will go.”

Jane Nickerson, CEO of Swim England and Chair of the sector-leading Swim Group, said:

“Swimming is one of the few activities that families can do together across generations and throughout their lives.

“So often, this family time in a pool is restricted to summer holidays. With the launch of the second wave of activity in our #LoveSwimming campaign we are tapping into deep emotional territory – sentiments that really resonate with parents.

“Time with your children – when they want to spent time with you rather than anyone else is fleeting. We want to encourage parents to make the most of those precious years being connected and having fun together through the joy and elation felt in a pool.

“We are reminding parents: don’t miss out on those treasurable years. Take them swimming, make the most of the passing moments and not only give them a life skill and get them active, but create memories that last a lifetime.”

As Colorado mum Casey Huff’s honest reflections on the conflicting feelings of motherhood went viral last week, the most recent instalment of the #LoveSwimming campaign is evidently tapping into a feeling shared by many mothers – one of longing their children could stay small forever while also looking forward to the times when they are old enough to sleep through the night and look after themselves, and the difficulties of cherishing childhood.

The heartfelt post quickly reached 20,000 likes, 9,000 shares and attracted 2,000 comments on Facebook.

Swim England and Freedom Leisure are calling on families in Crawley to #LoveSwimming and dedicate a precious hour every week to getting down to their local pool and enjoying time together as a family.

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Health & Wellbeing

Henry Smith MP presents Crawley healthcare petition and hails government support for diabetics

The Crawley MP has presented a petition of local residents in the House of Commons.

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It calls on the NHS in Crawley to provide Flash Glucose Monitoring technology to people with Diabetes, and has spoken in support of Government moves to ensure this provision for Type 1 Diabetics across England (on World Diabetes Day, Wednesday 14th November).

Speaking in Central Lobby after the presentation of the petition, Henry said;

“My thanks to those Crawley residents who took the time to sign this petition and collect signatures in support of Diabetics locally being provided with Flash Glucose Monitoring technology, such as FreeStyle Libre.

“These enable Diabetics to live with their condition better by testing glucose levels without the need to continually prick their finger throughout the day with a needle, drawing blood to use a test strip to check blood sugar levels.

“The FreeStyle Libre works by having a small sensor on your body automatically measuring and continuously storing glucose readings day and night, which can be read via a sensor (the size of a £2 coin) in seconds using a pocket-sized scanner.

“Our petition calls for the Crawley Clinical Commissioning Group to provide this support for Diabetics locally, whose daily lives would be enhanced by wider availability of this device.”

While Diabetes UK estimate that 6.9 per cent of adults in the town have Diabetes, Crawley CCG are among under one fifth of CCGs which have decided not to make flash glucose monitoring available.

Also coinciding with World Diabetes Day, NHS England announced action to end the current variation faced currently by Type 1 Diabetics in some parts of the country accessing FreeStyle Libre.

From April 2019, these patients will be able to receive it on prescription from their local GP or Diabetes team helping them to better manage their blood sugar levels.

Henry said;

“I welcome the Government’s action to support people with Type 1 Diabetes in Crawley and throughout England. This announcement should mean an end to the variation in availability in this technology which will improve the daily lives of people with this condition.

“Of course, I continue to call on the NHS in Crawley to ensure this comes in before April next year, and for all local residents living with Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes.”

Henry said in the House of Commons;

“I am here today on behalf of Crawley residents with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes and all those who signed my petition calling on the Crawley Clinical Commissioning Group to provide flash glucose monitoring technology, such as FreeStyle Libre, on the NHS. Diabetes UK estimates that 6.9 per cent of adults in Crawley have Diabetes—a figure slightly higher than the English national average—but less than a fifth of Clinical Commissioning Groups have opted to make flash glucose monitoring available.

“As the right hon. Member for Leicester East (Keith Vaz) has said, I very much welcome the Government stating this morning—on World Diabetes Day—that for patients with Type 1 Diabetes, they are “announcing action to end the current variation patients in some parts of the country are facing to access Freestyle Libre.”

“People in Crawley who deal with Diabetes every day and I urge Crawley CCG and NHS England to ensure provision of this technology for people living with Type 2 Diabetes as well.

“The petition states:

“The Petition of residents of Crawley,

“Declares that the unfair postcode lottery created by Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) for access to Flash Glucose Monitoring (FreeStyle Libre) is detrimental to the health and emotional wellbeing of people with Diabetes and those that care for people with Diabetes; further notes that technology has been proved to be cost effective for many who are on intensive insulin therapy; further that it has been made available on prescription by the NHS and there is evidence to support its positive impacts; further that half of the country have now given access, but the other half have not; further that there is no reason why CCGs across the country should not make this life changing technology available to people with Diabetes who could benefit in England.

“The petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons to urge the government to take immediate action with NHS England to make Flash Glucose technology available on prescription for people with diabetes regardless of their address.

“And the petitioners remain, etc.”

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