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Overwhelming success at Outswimming Cancer sessions

The Outswimming Cancer sessions, held at Queen’s Park Sports Centre, have supported around 50 people over the last two years, and continues to go from strength to strength.

Led by Lesley Rechert, a swimming teacher at Queen’s Park Sports Centre, the initiative continues to provide swimming sessions, free of charge, for people living with and beyond cancer in Chesterfield or the surrounding areas.

Swimming played a big part in Lesley’s own recovery from cancer eight years ago and led to her applying for funding from Weston Park Cancer Charity in 2019 to try to set up these sessions to help support others in the local community.

Ruby Osborn, Grant Manager, from Weston Park Cancer Charity said: “We were proud to work with Chesterfield Borough Council to provide two small grants worth a combined £3,000 to fund the project from 2020 to 2022.”

“The project was an instant hit. It grew from an initial six people to an average attendance of 12 during the two years, with 18 people attending the project’s final session under our funding last month.

“These figures are even more impressive given the stop-start nature of group activities, including exercise, in Covid-19 enforced lockdowns during the pandemic.”

Lesley Rechert said: “The project has achieved so much. We have supported around 50 people over the course of two years, with 47 swim sessions, with an age range from 20s to 85. It has also supported people with a range of different cancer types including bowel, lung, breast, neck, throat and prostate cancer.

“Our Outswimming Cancer sessions are now embedded in the cancer community.”

Jill Mannion-Brunt, Chesterfield Borough Council’s cabinet member for health and well-being said: “This fantastic initiative brings a range of local people together to exercise, make new friendships and provide support for each other. Many of those attending have grown in confidence, as well as in their fitness, and we should all celebrate the amount of positivity this project continues to bring to everyone involved.”

In the pool, there are two double lanes, a cruising lane and a faster lane, which is working really well. Everyone is very supportive of each other, and staff continue to see tears, laughter and hugs from those who attend. 

The Outswimming Cancer sessions take place weekly at Queen’s Park Sports Centre, apart from during school holidays when they take a break.

The sessions are on a Monday, meet in reception from 1pm, with the swim taking place from 1.15pm to 2.15pm.

Booking is essential so please contact the reception team on 01246 345555 if you would like to attend.


First published on 20 September 2022 Last updated on 20 September 2022