Halo Leisure makes waves with a double triumph at Swim Wales Awards for Inclusion and Community Impact

Halo Leisure’s Autism Friendly Swimming Lessons initiative was acknowledged as a beacon of good practice when it walked away with two Awards at the Swim Wales awards on Saturday 20th January 2024 – where it was announced as the winner of the Inclusion Impact category and Community Impact category.

The Inclusion Impact Award recognises our Autism-Friendly Swim programme’s success in promoting inclusivity, engaging diverse communities, and breaking down barriers. Inclusivity is a priority for Halo Leisure, ensuring every child learns to swim, its substantial progress in fostering inclusivity within aquatics, showcasing the efforts in engaging with diverse communities, eliminating barriers and highlighting the positive impact we’ve had on individuals and communities.

Inclusivity is a priority for Halo Leisure, ensuring every child learns to swim. Their tailored Autism Friendly Swim Lessons make swimming accessible and enjoyable for children with autism, breaking down barriers. Beyond swimming skills, it enhances confidence, self-worth, and reduces isolation.

The Community Impact Award recognised the way that the programme has brought the community together through aquatic activity, inspiring positive change and improving the lives of the community contributing to greater, social mental and physical wellbeing.

For the past three years, Halo Leisure’s Autism-Friendly Swim Lessons at Ynysawdre Swimming Pool have positively affected more than 400 children aged 4 and above with ASD and/or disabilities. Parents welcome the programme as it offers safe, enjoyable, and accessible swimming experience during school breaks. The difference the programme is making was showcased in a BBC Children in Need TV special. The programme was also presented at the launch of the National Framework for Social Prescribing for Wales as an example of best practice for supporting children with autism to explore the wonderful world of water. This exceptional programme continues to make a splash, providing invaluable skills and garnering well-deserved recognition.

Expressing delight over the double win, Ryan Statton, Head of Active Communities at Halo Leisure, stated, “Winning these prestigious national awards for Impact Inclusion and Community Impact truly underlines the dedication and effort invested in our initiatives. It’s a testament to the ongoing commitment to making a meaningful impact within our communities.”The Autism Friendly Swim Lessons would not have been possible without funding from Bridgend County Borough Council and the BBC Children in Need.

To learn more about the Autism Friendly Children’s Swim Programme and support Halo’s efforts, please visit our website. https://haloleisure.org.uk/activities/bridgend/in-the-pool/autism-friendly-swimming-lessons.

To register your interest for future autism friendly swimming lessons or to get further information, please email: [email protected]

Image featuring Halo Staff from left to right: Ryan Statton – Head of Active Communities, Sally Davies- General Manager Maesteg Sports Centre, Terri Llewellyn – Active Community Coordinator, Aneka Rao – Community Insight & Evaluation/Research Officer and Simon Gywnne – Partnership Manager