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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

Council asks you to help improve the lives of those living with dementia

More than 30,000 people in West Sussex are Dementia Friends, and West Sussex County Council is encouraging all of its staff and residents to join the programme.

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The focus comes in support of Dementia Action Week, which is running from 20-26 May 2019.

Dementia is rapidly becoming the defining health issue of our time, with the numbers of people living with the condition increasing and no treatment to prevent or cure the underlying diseases. However we believe that life doesn’t end when dementia begins. 

Over the duration of the week, a range of events, such as Memory Cafes and ‘Ask the Expert’ will be taking place across the county, aimed to raise awareness of the matter and share information. 

As part of these events, Human Story Theatre is presenting Connie’s Colander across various West Sussex libraries. A drama intertwining a mother and daughter’s journey with dementia, tickets to the stripped-back, intimate show are free and can be booked via Eventbrite. The drama is crammed with all emotions and lots of laughs, alongside an informal Q&A session, facilitated by the two actors and local dementia specialists.

Amanda Jupp, Cabinet Member for Adults and Health, said:

“Dementia affects each person differently. Therefore it is really important that we understand how to recognise when someone is living with the condition.

“I cannot emphasise the importance of becoming a Dementia Friend enough. None of us are immune to the disease, so it is vital that we help to make a difference and continue to reduce the stigma surrounding it.”  

Around 14,000 people are estimated to have dementia in West Sussex and that figure is expected to reach 18,000 over the next six years.

More advice on dementia, as well as information on the upcoming events, can be found at www.westsussex.gov.uk/daw19.

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