A woman with a heart condition who lacked the confidence to go swimming has taken the plunge again - thanks to a new link-up between a leisure trust and two community groups.
Members of the People Focused Group are using venues run by Doncaster Culture and Leisure Trust to increase their activity levels and improve their health and wellbeing.
One woman in her fifties, Lisa Smith, said she had ‘fallen in love’ with swimming again after attending closed ladies sessions at Rossington Leisure Centre.
The classes are arranged by Jan Milner, a community agent at Rural Action Yorkshire.
Lisa, who lives in Armthorpe, said: “I suffer from heart problems and for the last few years I have felt very lethargic and pretty much turned into the typical ‘couch potato’ stereotype.
“But since joining the PFG I have steadily grown in confidence, becoming more able to socialise and give new experiences a go.
“The best change has been taking up swimming again.
“At first, I resolutely refused as I am a very large lady and the thought of being seen by others in a swimming costume was a non-starter.
“But the draw of the water was so great I decided to risk it and literally take the plunge.
“Although I was nervous at the first session, I fell in love from that moment and I now go swimming, under the guidance and support of Jan, twice a week.
“Jan is the best teacher and confidence-builder.
“Thanks to her patient instruction and fun approach I have found a new lease of life which has beneficial effects on my health, both physical and mental.
“I cannot thank or praise Jan enough.
“I never thought I would see the inside of a leisure centre or swimming pool again and would only have my memories to sustain me. How wrong I was.”
Kelly Hicks, a social worker employed by PFG, said: “Mainstream fitness and leisure facilities can sometimes seem intimidating and out of reach to people who suffer from ill health.
“But thanks to the DCLT scheme, people are really happy to finally be accessing their community venues and everyone involved has reported greater mental health through increased physical activity.”