Free Swimming Lessons for Children with Physical Disabilities Available with Better Leisure, Newcastle and Level Water 

Better leisure centres in Newcastle will soon be working with Level Water to offer free one-to-one swimming lessons for children with physical disabilities and sensory impairments at Better, West Denton and Gosforth Leisure Centres. 

Level Water fund lessons for children who are aged 4 to 11 years with a physical, hearing or visual disability, without a major behavioural, social or learning difficulty, who cannot currently swim ten metres.  Swimming is a great sport for all children, but it can be ineffective or unsafe for children with disabilities to learn in mainstream groups. Level Water provides small group and one-to-one lessons until each child has learnt to swim 15m front crawl and backstroke.  From this point, each child is safe and independent in the water.  They can then join group swimming lessons and over time join their local competitive swimming club if they wish. 

The initiative will see 30 minute, one-to-one teaching slots added to the swimming pool programmes in both West Denton and Gosforth.  Existing, fully qualified Better swimming teachers will receive additional, specialist disability training from the Amateur Swimming Association.

Teachers will have detailed conversations with parents before the child’s first lesson, to understand their individual abilities and limitations.  Each child will receive a gentle introduction to the water and detailed, regular evaluations to monitor their progress.  

Dan Wiseman Operations Manager at Level Water said “Without our one-to-one disability swimming lessons, most of these children will never learn to swim.  It’s not just about teaching a child to swim.  Our disability swimming lessons help children with physical or sensory disabilities to develop confidence, self-esteem and resilience.  If we can give a child physical, social and emotional confidence through sport, we can change their trajectory in life”. 

Craig Howell is the General Manager for both Better, West Denton and Gosforth Leisure Centres.  He said “We are already giving hundreds of children in Newcastle the experience of learning to swim in a safe environment with qualified staff and this is a great opportunity to extend this to children with disabilities, who ordinarily would not be able to participate. 

We look forward to working with Level Water and local families while the scheme develops and we see more children becoming healthy, active swimmers.”

Sessions will begin week commencing 1st August and will run at the following times:

Gosforth Leisure Centre

·         Sat: 08:00 – 08:30

·         Sun 08:00 – 09:00

West Denton Leisure Centre

·         Fri: 17:30 – 18:30 – Large Pool

·         Fri: 18:00 – 20:00 Small Pool

To find out if your child is eligible, email contact@levelwater.org with your child’s home postcode, age and disability and you will be sent an application form to complete.  If Level Water are able to provide funding, your preferred Better leisure centre will contact you directly to book your lessons.