Considering recent drowning fatalities within in the Liverpool community the need is great to educate our community about importance of water safety including basic learning to swim skills, safe places to swim, and what to do in case of an emergency.
Funded by Liverpool City Council the Liverpool MRC implemented a 2-week intensive swimming youth program in conjunction with Belgravia Leisure. Our youth worker Sarah Elfoul, and 30 participants were in the pool at Whitlam Leisure Centre every day during the school holidays! Sarah tells us more about how it went.
“The first week saw our refugee youth group having a very mixed response to being near the water, some very cautious and mindful, and others fearless even though they are non-swimmers.
Throughout the week, they participated in a structured morning lesson, with a follow-up session of water-based play.
All activities were aimed at encouraging the group to feel comfortable in the water, with the program running every weekday for 2 weeks.
Being from Australia we are so at one with the water – we are an island surrounded by water and swimming is often second nature to most Aussie kids. It was also an opportunity to gain access to the facilities available at Whitlam Centre and highlighted other key facilities including gymnastics and the gym. It has been another great opportunity to promote healthy lifestyle activities to our refugee community through a youth program.
Listen to our podcast interview with the kids – makes us want to go swimming!
At the end of the 2 weeks, all the participants knew the basic principles of floating unassisted, and could successfully put their heads under the water. We found that they wanted to support one another, by showing each other techniques. Those with advanced skills naturally mentored those that were struggling. It certainly feels like a fabulous achievement with many levels of success.
One of the groups has decided that he is keen to enter into his school’s next swimming carnival and committed to practice swimming as often as possible.
The first week saw our refugee youths group having a very mixed response to being near the water, some very cautious and mindful of the water, and other fearless yet non-swimmers.
Given the success of this school holiday activity, we hope to run it again in term 2 holidays.
We would like to thank Belgravia Leisure and Liverpool City Council for providing the young people with a free 7 days pass to access facilities to continue their newly learnt skills.”