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National award win for Chesterfield swimming programme

We’re so happy to hear that a swimming programme which provides exercise sessions for people from Chesterfield who are living with and beyond cancer has been recognised with a national award.

OutSwimming Cancer, delivered at Chesterfield’s Queen’s Park Sports Centre by Chesterfield Borough Council and supported by Weston Park Cancer Charity, claimed the Swim England Health Impact Award at the Teaching and Education Awards 2021.

The initiative was first launched in early 2020, with people living with and beyond cancer in the Chesterfield area invited to take part in free, informal and relaxed swimming sessions at Queen’s Park Sports Centre.

Courses of free sessions returned in 2021 and have provided huge benefit to local people and communities.

The programme was launched after Swimming instructor Lesley Rechert approached Chesterfield Borough Council about the benefits which swimming could provide for people following cancer treatment. The council, with the support of Weston Park Cancer Charity, then created a programme for adults which supported their long-term recovery.

Swimming instructor, Lesley, said: “It is wonderful to see people enjoying the water again, increasing their swimming skills and regaining fitness and confidence.

“Our participants are very supportive of each other, and you will be made to feel welcome whatever your level of swimming.

“We are very grateful for the support of Weston Park Cancer Charity.”

Ruby Osborn, our Grants Manager, said: “We’re thrilled that OutSwimming Cancer has been recognised by Swim England.

“Lesley and the team have created a wonderfully supportive environment to encourage people living with and beyond cancer to get into the pool and enjoy the benefits of swimming.

“The feedback we've had from participants shows how much of difference this programme is making and we look forward to the partnership continuing.”

Councillor Jill Mannion-Brunt, Chesterfield Borough Council’s cabinet member for health and wellbeing, said: “We are very proud of the team at Queen’s Park Sports Centre for achieving this award as they have put a huge amount of effort in to making the session a success.

“It’s important that everyone feels like they can pursue a healthy lifestyle and use our facilities to achieve this. Our staff at the centre are really supportive and it’s brilliant that we can offer this provision to people who are going through such a difficult time in their lives.

“Recovery from cancer can take a long time but swimming is really beneficial for the journey back to better health – it’s a great way of rebuilding your strength and confidence. Quiet sessions like OutSwimming Cancer aim to create an inclusive environment that is supportive as well as enjoyable.”

OutSwimming Cancer sessions continue to take place every Monday. Further information, including details on how to book a place can be found at

Photo credit: Chesterfield Borough Council.

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