Children who spend a lot of their time looking after other people have been the sole and total centre of attention at a special course at Andover Leisure Centre.
The 15 youngsters – all of whom are Andover Young Carers – have been taking part in a scheme to help improve their swimming skills.
At the start of the free six-week course, some of the youngsters had little water confidence and didn’t swim well. But others were total non-swimmers.
“Many of us take it for granted that children will learn to swim. But when you’re the young carer and adults rely on you, it’s easy for it not to happen,” said Cynthia Cannon Swim Instructor from Valley Leisure, the charitable trust that runs the leisure centre, in partnership with Test Valley Borough Council.
Gina Holton from Andover Young Carers added: “The young carers are absolute stars. We’re really pleased that we could both make them the centre of attention and teach them a skill that will give them great enjoyment, and might also – one day – save a life.”
Each of the lessons in the course, paid for by the Make a Difference fund, were tailored for the abilities of each individual child.
At the initial assessment, five of the children were at a beginner’s level, five were weak swimmers, and five were entirely non-swimmers.
But by the end, all had made a big improvement. Five collected their 25-metre badge, four achieved the 10-metre award and six were given their five-metre accolade.
Valley Leisure has made the Andover Leisure Centre – and the other leisure facilities it runs – a community hub for wellbeing.
It encourages diverse activities, such as the young carers’ swimming lessons, to be held at sites it operates.
To find out how they can help, see the Valley Leisure web site or phone 01264 347100.