First Rockinghorse funded sea swimming course comes to an end

Our recently funded a sea swimming course for teenagers with long term health conditions has come to an end with some great results.

We have recently updated you about the sea swimming course that we funded following a suggestion by Charlotte Savins, a children and young people’s psychotherapist, Rockinghorse Champion and keen sea swimmer.

Charlotte had found there were so many benefits to her physical and mental health and really wanted some of the young people she works with to benefit in the same way.

Freddy before his last sea swimming session

The group of young people with a range of health conditions such as Crohn’s disease and asthma, met every week on beach near Brighton’s Palace pier, donning their wetsuits and Rockinghorse branded hats and learning a variety of skills to help them enjoy and stay safe in the water.

One such participant is 12-year-old Freddy who came along with his mum Beth. Freddy has really enjoyed the sessions and said: “Coming out weekly has really helped with my mental health and the sea isn’t even that cold!”

Beth also noticed some real benefits from the sessions: It’s lovely that Freddy’s been with children who also have lifelong conditions because sometimes when you’re in the hospital you don’t want to intrude on other people so it can be quite alienating for him. It’s lovely he’s with other people that also something going on.

“I think it’s been equally helpful for me, meeting other parents and chatted to them about staying in hospital and that’s been really nice as again.

“For Freddy he’s not the kind of person to sit down and chat at a table about what’s going on so it’s nice for him, maybe there’s less words but he can see that there are other people having stuff going on.”

And from Charlotte’s point of view, the sessions have really been transformative: “I think it’s been quite amazing. One of the young people was really anxious at the first sessions and nearly left. He was really hesitant about staying, he didn’t want to swim, and was really concerned about getting into the sea.

“Now he’s much more confident, putting his face in the water doing front crawl. It’s totally transformed him; it’s flipped his sense of self from someone who can’t do things because he’s anxious to someone who can do things.

“He’s started doing things he wouldn’t do before such as having sleep overs with friends and going to places on his own. And he’s started talking to me about facing up to and managing some quite tricky medical procedures he needs to have done. Because he now has a sense of himself as someone who can do things rather than a sense of someone who can’t do it because he’s too anxious.

“His mum even said to me, ‘You’ve worked miracles!’”

During the final session the young people, along with sea swimming coaches Fiona and Marianne and lifeguard Kai, started with a reminder of some sea safety before they attempted their furthest swim so far; swimming out to the furthest buoy, around 600m in total.

One of the participants, twelve-year-old Ed, has really enjoyed the sessions: “I have really liked getting into the water and feeling more confident swimming in the sea. I’ve really enjoyed it.”

And Lesza, aged 17, has also liked the sessions: “They have been really cool. I’ve never really tried sea swimming before, and it’s been nice to see how different it is.

“At first it’s quite intimidating if you don’t know what’s going on but thanks to the coaches, I now feel more confident going into the water on my own.”

We are really hoping to be able to fund more of these sessions so that more young people can access the physical and mental health benefits of sea swimming.

And if you know any teenagers who are under the care of a paediatrician at the Alex and who would like to come along for a taster session, please feel free to contact Charlotte to arrange it. Just email her at charlotte.savins@nhs.net

Find out more about the other projects we are funding to help young people’s mental health and wellbeing here.

 

 

 

Back to news