The Oxford Swans club has been teaching swimming to children and adults with disabilities for over 25 years.

The club use the Halliwick concept that teaches swimmers water confidence and basic technique on a one-to-one basis and, in small groups. Their main focus is on ability in the water and not disability.

Catherine’s daughter Lydia has been going to Swans for the past 18 years. She explains: “It is the high point of her week as it’s the only time she is not being supported in her wheelchair. Through the great volunteers at Swans, Lydia has learnt to float on her back on her own. It took 12 years of Saturdays before she achieved getting her 10 metre badge but it was worth all the effort from the helpers at Swans, when you watch her floating around with a big smile on her face.”

Oxford Swans have seen a real surge of interest in swimming. Water is a fantastic medium for individuals to explore being free from their wheelchair, walking aids or simply using the natural buoyancy properties of water to do movements that would otherwise seem impossible.

Swimming and moving around in water can have a profound impact on mood and well-being. Oxford Swans swimming club provides a unique opportunity to explore water, swimming and contact with other people interested in swimming.

The Oxford Swans always need volunteers to support club members in the water. There is currently a real need for volunteers even more now with rising numbers wanting to be part of the club.

The Swans do a lot of one-to-one work and group activity, and without their volunteers they would simply not be able to support swimmers and the club. The support of volunteers is vital to Oxford Swans.

Anyone can help and that includes people who cannot swim confidently. Just an interest in swimming and helping is needed. The club can teach you all you need to know to help their members. Oxford Swans can help you learn a new skill while you can help them with their growing number of swimmers.

Anyone who has an interest in volunteering is encouraged to join. You could be doing your Duke of Edinburgh, want a new challenge or simply have a couple of hours spare to help out.

The Oxford Swans swim at the Ferry Pool, Summertown, and at Temple Cowley Pool, helping more than 100 swimmers and membership is rising.

For more information log on to or contact Charlie Winward at