Celebrating OutSwimming Cancer's impact in Chesterfield!
We’re celebrating the impact of Chesterfield Borough Council’s Outswimming Cancer project, an initiative which has provided swimming sessions, free of charge, for people living with and beyond cancer in Chesterfield or the surrounding areas.
We were proud to work with Chesterfield Borough Council to provide two small grants worth a combined £3,000 to fund the project, which was led by Lesley Rechert.
The project, which sees sessions held at Queen’s Park Sports Centre in Chesterfield, is very much Lesley’s brainchild, with support from Rebecca Truman, Operations Manager at Queen’s Park Sports Centre.
Swimming played a huge part in Lesley’s own recovery from cancer eight years ago and led to her applying for funding from Weston Park Cancer Charity as soon as she qualified as a swimming instructor in 2019.
We were so excited to provide funding for the project, which was an instant hit. It grew from an initial six people to an average attendance of 12 during the two years, with 18 people attending the project’s final session under our funding last month.
These figures are even more impressive given the stop-start nature of group activities, including exercise, in Covid-19 enforced lockdowns during the pandemic.
We’re beyond proud of the legacy of Lesley’s project. For more information on the project or to book, call Queen’s Park Sports Centre 01246 345555.
The project has achieved so much. It has:
- Supported 50 people over the course of two years
- Provided 47 swim sessions
- Sessions have seen an age range of 20s to 85
- It has also supported people with a range of different cancer types including bowel, lung, breast, neck, throat and prostate cancer
Lesley said: “Our Outswimming Cancer sessions are now embedded in the cancer community. We are so amazed by the impact it has had, both on the attendees, and in wider circles.
"We wanted to express our thanks for the Charity's contribution to helping this project become so successful. We are grateful for you believing in us. Many thanks to you and your panel for awarding us the grant.
“Another encouraging thing is that it’s not always the same faces every week,” continued Lesley.
“Some come every week, some come for a short time and others dip in and out.”
Rebecca Truman, Operations Manager at Queen’s Park Sports Centre, who also played a significant part in the project’s success, said: “The feedback continues to be really positive and it’s really rewarding to see people getting stronger and fitter, whilst also enjoying themselves.
“In the pool, we now have two double lanes, a cruising lane and a faster lane, which is working really well. Everyone is very supportive of each other, and we continue to see tears, laughter and hugs. Some great friendships have formed.”
“It has been amazing to see people grow in confidence”
Lesley said that one lady credits the swimming sessions for helping her regain her confidence to start to apply for jobs after her treatment. She's since gained employment and is now looking for promotion.
“Another lady is now training to become a swimming teacher,” said Lesley.
“There are new and lovely friendships, and people are getting fitter. It’s been amazing to see people grow in confidence and fitness over the weeks, and gain knowledge from each other and myself of different strategies and ways to help recovery from cancer and cancer treatment.”
Ruby Osborn, Grant Manager at Weston Park Cancer Charity, said: “We’re delighted to have funded OutSwimming Cancer through its first two years to provide these swimming sessions to so many people affected by cancer.
“The project has had a huge positive impact on its swimmers, not just from doing exercise, but doing exercise in such a welcoming environment and with the support of a caring and knowledgeable instructor like Lesley.
“We’re thrilled to see this programme go from strength to strength, particularly given its national award recognition from Swim England. It’s everything we could hope for one of our grant projects to achieve.”
For more information about OutSwimming Cancer or to book your place at a session, call Queen’s Park Sports Centre on 01246 345555.
We’re so happy at the impact our small grants have had for OutSwimming Cancer; did you know that you or your organisation could be eligible to apply for a small grant? Find out more online today!
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