Learn To Swim With Oldham Active’s Adult Swimming Lessons
Oldham Active gives more than 9000 adults free swimming lessons over the last 11 years.
More than nine thousand adults have been taught to swim for free during the last 11 years, thanks to Oldham Active’s adult learn to swim pathway. The lessons, which kickstarted in 2012, aim to take non swimmers through to being able to swim 10 metres, as well as learning key lifesaving water skills.
Simon Blair, Head of Business Development, says: “We understand the importance of everyone having the opportunity to learn to swim. Swimming is a wonderful form of exercise, it’s low impact and can support people with mobility issues, as well as contributing to better overall and mental health. Learning to swim could also potentially save your life.
“However, we understand there are many barriers to people learning to swim, including a prohibitive cost. This was one of the reasons we introduced our free weekly 25-minute beginner group for adults. It’s essential for Oldham Active to reach out to our community and find ways to make wellbeing more accessible.”
Oldham Active currently runs eight 30-minute classes a week across three of its sites. Each week there are approximately 30 adults learning to swim in the free classes. Once learners can successfully swim 10 meters, if they wish to, they can move into Oldham Active’s weekly intermediate lessons, which are chargeable at £26.99 a month.
Blair continues: “We are proud of the long-term success of this programme, and of all our 9197 learn to swim adults. It’s never too late to learn a new skill, and whilst we do have a waiting list for the free lessons, we encourage people to get in touch with our centres if they are interested.”
Marion, 72, a former print worker from Greenacres, joined the free learn to swim programme over a year ago. She says: “I’m so pleased that I am learning to swim. It’s been a really positive experience for me. I had a few swimming lessons as a school girl, but I hadn’t really swam since. I wanted to get fitter, as I had been struggling with poor health, including suffering with two mini strokes, sepsis and arthritis in my leg. Due to my health and mobility issues, I felt swimming might be a good exercise option for me. I was naturally nervous when I started, but my teacher and the team at Oldham Leisure Centre have been fantastic and encouraging; they have really helped me out.”
After her 10 free sessions, Marion signed up for more lessons and now comes twice a week, to a group session on Tuesdays and a 1:2:1 class on Fridays. Marion says: “When I first started I needed three armbands. I’m still not a confident swimmer, but I am improving all the time and I’m really determined. Since starting my lessons I have lost three and half stone in weight and I feel much better, healthier, happier and more mobile. I love the feeling of being in the water and am so pleased I am doing something for myself in my retirement.”
Julie, 44, has worked as a swimming teacher for Oldham Active for 23 years, she says: “Our adult learn to swim pathway has been such a success. I’ve personally taught hundreds of local people to learn to swim. There is nothing embarrassing about not being able to swim, there are many reasons, including financial and cultural barriers. Swimming is such a wonderful form of exercise and anyone can do it, including those with mobility and health issues. Many of the people who join our free lessons have come to us as their NHS physiotherapist has recommended swimming to help with a particular health complaint.
“Adults who join our lessons are often nervous and lack water confidence, but it’s a very friendly environment and I gently guide and give advice to help them to improve. Often I find that adult learners want to learn more strokes, having only learnt the basics. We also teach potentially lifesaving skills, including the ability to float and tread water. We have a good chat with our leaners and it’s always a sociable group.
“I’ve loved teaching Marion to swim and I’m so proud of her progress; she really has done well. Her general physicality and movement in the water is greatly improved, she’s now using both arms in the water, and it’s fantastic to hear that this is having a positive impact on her mobility in her day to day life.
“I love being a swimmer teacher, and even after doing it for so long I still find it so rewarding. I always enjoy seeing learners, of any age, progress, it makes me feel proud and emotional.”
If you would like to find out more and start your journey with us, visit one of our centres and speak to a member of staff.