Healing Waters, a practical project to promote safe outdoor swimming in Breckland, began with a landowner meeting in March, held the first intro to outdoor swimming session in Sept 2020, three events in 2021 and is now planning activities for 2022.
The project is part of The Brecks Fen Edge & Rivers Landscape Partnership Scheme (BFER), supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund. See Summary of the project.
Dates for events 2022 (some details provisional):
Future dates so far
In the swim intro events qualified lifeguards and skilled volunteers will introduce people in the Brecks to swimming outdoors, understanding the risks and how to be safe and have fun. Booking will be announced in advance of sessions.
3 July 2022 – Coaching for outdoor swimming: developing your swimming (priority booking for participants in swim intro sessions in 2020-2021), Lynford Water, Event authorised by Forestry England
13 August 2022 – Introduction to outdoor swimming: have a go, learn how to be safe and have fun (youth groups with their leaders), Lynford Water, Event authorised by Forestry England. Details for group leaders, or Contact me.
21 August 2022 – Introduction to outdoor swimming: have a go, learn how to be safe and have fun (small group of young people with additional needs with their carers), venue to be confirmed
4 September 2022 – Swim event: races and fun events (priority booking for participants in swim intro sessions in 2020-2021), venue to be confirmed
The open water lifeguards trained by the project in 2021 will have refresher training 22 May at Thorpe Woodlands, and as needed during the year.
All events will be delivered by qualified trainers/coaches and skilled volunteers, with insurance, risk assessment and other support to ensure that everyone can participate safely. They aim to provide knowledge so that people can risk assess for themselves so they can enjoy swimming safely.
Coming soon: Details on the river survey and mapping strand of the project.
Timing not yet decided – Swim Walks:
Swim walks or runs can be an interesting thing to do once you have started outdoor swimming, and can build skills of risk assessing water entry points.
Read more about swim walks on this website.
We are considering possible ways we could do this within the project. It could be as a self-guided activity, where we give information on routes, points and on how to keep safe and make an assessment. Or we could organise taking small groups on swim walks, for which we would have to consider what level of safeguards we would need to provide. Another strand of the Healing Waters project is to do surveys of the rivers and waters of the Brecks to identify suitable places for swimming and other recreation, so it could be linked with that.
More on this later. Meanwhile, for inspiration you could read the original Swim Walks book online, with walks reached by public transport from London, buy the book, or join the Swim Walks Facebook group. Information on finding places to swim in the Brecks and elsewhere on this website.
12 September 2021 – Introduction to outdoor swimming: have a go, learn how to be safe and have fun. Families and children (morning) adults) afternoon). Over 80 people in four sessions, including 20 children aged 3-13, were introduced to swimming outdoors, understanding the risks and how to be safe and have fun. This was the last intro event this year, and the fourth in the project. It was held at Lynford Water public lake; event authorised by Forestry England. Volunteers and lifeguards gave an interactive briefing on safety and environmental issues before everyone got in the warm water on a lovely sunny day. Read a report on the day.
15 August 2021 – Introduction to outdoor swimming: have a go, learn how to be safe and have fun for families and children
Qualified lifeguards, assisted by volunteers, introduced over 70 people, from age 3 upwards, to swimming outdoors, understanding the risks and how to be safe and have fun. It was held at Lynford Water public lake (approved by Forestry England) Read a report of the event.
6 June 2021 – Introduction to outdoor swimming: have a go, learn how to be safe and have fun Qualified trainers and lifeguards, assisted by volunteers, introduced 100 people in the Brecks to swimming outdoors, understanding the risks and how to be safe and have fun. This was held at Mildenhall Jubilee Fields, thanks to agreement from the Mildenhall High Town Council. Read a report of 6 June event.
16, 23, 29 May 2021 Open Water Lifeguard training . Eleven successfully passed and are now qualified. It was held near Thetford, open to young people over 16 (by 29 May) living in or near the Brecks, who can swim 400 m fast in a pool and swim confidently under water, be competent and confident swimming outdoors, and who would be able to pass the theory and practical assessment. This will give career opportunities and the chance to volunteer on later outdoor swimming intro sessions in the project. Since the training lifeguards have volunteered and worked in the project and elsewhere, and some have told us about their experiences.
13 September 2020 – a day of introduction to outdoor swimmingsessions: ‘have a go, learn how to be safe and have fun’. The first of these training events was very popular and successful. Qualified trainers and lifeguards, supported by volunteers, introduced people in the Breckland area to swimming outdoors, understanding the risks and how to be safe and have fun. Read a report of the day.
More events are planned for 2022, and anyone interested can join our mailing list – Contact me and say you would like updates or to get involved, or to hear about future events in all the BFER projects you can sign up for BFER updates and newsletter here
This was for landowners or managers with rivers or water where people swim or might swim or do other recreation. If you are interested to hear more about involvement in the project (or you know anyone who is), please contact me.
Landowners and other participants marked places on the Brecks map where they owned or managed land and where they have swum, at a workshop 11 March 2020 at the start of the Healing Waters project.
From the workshop: Download a talk on the project 11 March 2020 (Word.doc, 2 pages)
The day was organised by the project and the team running The Brecks Fen Edge & Rivers Landscape Partnership Scheme (BFER, supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund), and the Visitor Safety Group.
Summary of the project
Healing Waters will engage people in healthy outdoor activities, including learning to enjoy being in, on or by the water safely and with care for the environment; and in mapping and considering publicising suitable places for swimming or for other recreational uses of the rivers.
We will consult and involve landowners and land managers from the start, to address the concerns that some have about swimming and other watery recreation, and to promote positive benefits. We aim to improve people’s understanding of safe and environmentally friendly behaviours around water, which can to help tackle the issues.
We want to introduce people of all ages to enjoying the water safely and with care for the environment, to allay their fears and misunderstandings and those of parents and authorities, and to equip people to do their own risk assessments and mitigate risks, and to have fun. We will also be providing training to young people on safety, life-saving and lifeguarding.
More detail on the projects on this website and about all the BFER projects on The Brecks Fen Edge & Rivers Landscape Partnership Scheme website, supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund.
You might also be interested in the latest on the Tales from the River project, Swim history project plans 2021.