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Sports Minister hails new dementia friendly swimming pools

Sports Minister hails new dementia friendly swimming pools

The Amateur Swimming Association | Swim England

3 min read Partner content

Sports Minister Tracey Crouch has today welcomed the rollout of an award winning project which aims to make swimming pools accessible to people with dementia.

The Dementia Friendly Swimming Project, which was launched by the Amateur Swimming Association in February 2015 in pools in Durham and Manchester, will now be implemented in six additional areas around England.

The expansion of the pioneering initiative was marked yesterday at an event at Clissold Leisure Centre in Hackney, with Tracey Crouch, representatives from the ASA partner agencies, local authorities and the Alzheimer’s Society in attendance.

The ASA, along with local partners in Bristol, Nottingham, Crawley, Barking and Dagenham and the London boroughs of Hackney and Tower Hamlets, will now be working together to create a network of swimming pools that are safe and welcoming for people living with dementia.

Speaking at the event, Ms Crouch said: “Staying healthy and active is incredibly important at every stage of life. 

“For people living with dementia, low impact exercise such as swimming can be beneficial for both their physical and mental health. Organised activities can also help reduce feelings of loneliness and isolation. 

“The Dementia Friendly Swimming Project is a great example of an initiative which does all of these things and more. No-one, including those with dementia, should feel they cannot participate in physical activity.”

Adam Paker, Chief Executive of the ASA, added: “With an ageing population and the numbers of people diagnosed with dementia set to rise, the Dementia Friendly Swimming Project is an incredibly important initiative.

“Swimming helps to reduce anxiety by clearing the mind and relaxing the body. It also offers important opportunities for people to socialise, reducing feelings of loneliness and isolation.  

“Our work in County Durham and Manchester has already shown the positive impact that swimming has on a person living with dementia, and their carers, which is why we are delighted to be to be expanding the Project to six more areas.

“Over the next two years we want to create a network of over 100 dementia-friendly pools that are safe and welcoming for all, ensuring that no one living with dementia misses out on being able to enjoy swimming and the many health and social benefits that it offers.”

The project builds on research which found that low impact exercise can help to improve the quality of life for people in all stages of dementia, and that swimming in particular has the added benefits of helping to reduce anxiety, improve a person’s mood and offers an overall sense of physical and mental well-being.

To find out more about the project, including how to become a partner, people can visit  www.swimming.org/DementiaFriendly .

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