West Bromwich set their sights on the community

Sandwell Visually Impaired make a splash at our centre

West Bromwich Leisure Centre has started delivering funded aqua aerobics classes for people with visual impairment in partnership with local organisation, Sandwell Visually Impaired (SVI).   

Our West Midlands-based centre has a long-standing relationship of over 5 years with the group.

Initially funded by Sandwell Council, the project began with the introduction of Learn to Swim VI sessions. Since this time the partnership has strengthened, collaborating to improve confidence and make fitness more accessible for over 500 visually impaired members with the support of our instructors.   

Group members can also safely leave their guide dogs at the centre during their time in the pool and are invited to explore the space to assure them it is secure and appropriate for the dogs.

Graham, one of our SVI group members commented, “Encouraged to ‘Dash for a Splash’ in the first pre-Covid SVI swimming sessions, I’ve developed the confidence to go into mainstream swimming at the West Bromwich Leisure Centre. With the wonderful support of the centre staff, this means, as a singleton, I join the regular lane swimmer’s mid-day on Friday’s. All fellow swimmers have learnt to accommodate my occasional unintended contact. All are generously understanding, what’s more I’ve made several new friends that way. Must be a lane swimmer to orientate myself. Otherwise, I’d be swimming in circles. It’s great exercise and fun. You should try it!” 

Once individuals in the SVI group reach a comfortable swimming ability, they are encouraged to join regular sessions with all the same support throughout their experience.

The project has already seen great success and is a fantastic opportunity for us at Places Leisure to reach out to our wider community and bring positivity to the lives of those at the Sandwell Visually Impaired group.