When Overchurch Junior School had a two week swimming programme in June, it looked like eight year old Evie would have to miss out. Children are expected to spend time in the pool independently but when lifeguards at Woodchurch Leisure Centre found out, they made it their mission to ensure Evie, who has Down’s syndrome, received the extra care she needed.
‘We didn’t think anyone should miss out on swimming’, explained Vinny, who has worked as a life-guard at Woodchurch for 22 years. ‘We did everything we could to help. We’re a community based centre and it was a team effort’. Staff switched their rotas and lifeguards came in early, before their shift had started, to provide unpaid support for Evie.
Their dedication paid off. ‘Evie wouldn’t get in the pool at first’ said Vinny, ‘but after a few days, she didn’t want to get out!’
He said on the last day of the programme, they were playing in the water and she said how much she loved it. Vinny said: ‘That moment was worth more than any amount of money’.
Parents Clare and Phil have seen how much swimming has helped Evie’s development and confidence. ‘You can see how much she loves the water,’ added Clare. Even during the interview Evie was jumping on to a large inflatable dolphin, part of the pool toys used in the Woodchurch’s children’s pool.
‘It’s incredible’ said Phil, ‘At first we thought will she even get in to the water but now she’s not afraid at all. So much so, we’ve just signed her up for an Invigor8 membership’.
‘We’re just so grateful that the school, Vinny and the other lifeguards have made this possible’.
SWIMMING is a great way for your child to be fit and healthy and gain confidence like Evie, all while learning an important life skill. Swim Wirral offers classes for children of every age and ability, even those who have never been in a pool before!
Lessons are offered at six centres across Wirral, five days a week, with some offering lessons at the weekend too. The programme runs for 42 weeks of the year with children taking part in one 30 minute lesson per week.
Contact your local centre or call the Swim Wirral team on 0151 606 2010, option 2.