Dementia-friendly swimming project opens in Hackney

Pic: Hackney Council

Swimming helps ease anxiety and relax the body. Pic: Hackney Council

The Dementia Friendly Swimming Project, funded by the Amateur Swimming Association, was launched at Clissold Leisure Centre in Hackney last week.

The award-winning project was trialled in Durham and Manchester and aims to improve the health and wellbeing of people with dementia. Research has shown swimming can help to improve the quality of life for people in all stages of dementia.

Councillor John McShane, cabinet member for health, social care and culture said: “This is an excellent initiative for people in Hackney that will see individuals presented with a new way to boost mental wellbeing, while fulfilling an activity that can bring with it a real sense of achievement.”

Several local residents participated in the trial session on the project launch day. Helen O’Malley, from Homerton, said: “I love swimming, it’s good exercise, it keeps you fit and you feel much happier once you’ve been.”

Elliot Corton, sports manager at Clissold Leisure centre, said: “Our staff are dedicated to deliver better service to assist people with dementia.”

“It’s not just a swimming session. We would like to encourage people to socialise in our cafe and gain support within the community.”

Local resident Roger Burrell was impressed with “attentive” staff. He said: “Staff  had thought about the support that was needed not just in the pool, but in the changing rooms too, but the best thing was knowing that everyone there, from the staff to other swimmers, was aware that there were people with dementia in the pool.”

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By Qi Cheng

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