4th Aug, 2021

Making a big splash - Swimming session at The Wave in Coventry for those with disabilities is a sell-out

Tristan Harris 1st Nov, 2020 Updated: 3rd Nov, 2020

A NEW swimming session in Coventry dedicated to people with disabilities has had a sell-out debut.

More than 100 children and their families visited The Wave in Coventry city centre to take part in the Quiet Time session, a two-hour pilot that saw people with disabilities and their families given exclusive access to the water park.

The lights were dimmed, music switched off, and visitors had the opportunity to interact with sensory equipment in the Wave Pool and Lazy River, along with access to some of the facility’s rides.

The socially-distanced Quiet Time session was run by CV Life with support from Coventry City Council and Sense – a charity which supports those living with complex disabilities.

Jenny Wills attended the session with her son Brennan, who has severe autism and learning difficulties, and it was her initial email to CV Life that planted the seed for the sessions to be made into a reality.

She said: “There aren’t any other sessions like this for children and people with disabilities across Coventry and Warwickshire, so I contacted CV Life to see if we could change that.

“The manager of The Wave, Laura, responded to me and asked if I would feed into what a session could look like, so I gave them my input on what I felt families would need, and I am delighted with the effort that has been put in to make this session a reality.

“When the children are small you can get away with taking them to a soft play, but there’s nowhere for teenagers, yet this session at The Wave enables us all to have fun together as a family.

“Some individuals with disabilities get overwhelmed coming into a session where it’s really noisy because there are so many children, but this session has been a lot more tolerable for them and they have enjoyed themselves.

“The pilot session was a sell-out, and it’d be great to have one of these sessions at least once a month in the future.”

Another parent, Rachel Smith, travelled from Banbury so her 15-year-old son Charlie, who has severe autism and ADHD, could take advantage of the session.

She added: “Charlie is very sensitive to noise and being around lots of people, but this session is so much calmer and quieter, so he has been much more at ease in the pool – it’s been absolutely brilliant.

“He has been able to focus on what he wants to do rather than focusing on what is around him, which has been really nice to see.

“Sessions like this are just a lifeline for both me and Charlie as they just don’t tend to exist elsewhere.”

The Quiet Time trial forms part of CV Life’s and Coventry City Council’s ‘Go Connect’ scheme, which is aiming to encourage more of the city’s residents to take advantage of CV Life’s four venues across the city, which include The Wave, Centre AT7 , The Alan Higgs Centre and Xcel Leisure Centre.

Wendy Jackson, Community Development Manager at CV Life, added: “The Wave is an inclusive facility but generally there is loud music and a lot of water features – and with help from Jenny – we realised that if we made a few tweaks we could improve the atmosphere for those with sensory needs.

“Only two families in attendance at this session had been to The Wave before – which tells us that there is a need for these types of sessions.

“It was important to run a pilot session because it’s important that the visitors needs and suggestions are at the heart of future sessions, which we are hoping to provide more details on in the near future.”

For more on future events, email Mandip Sehmi – CV Life Disability Sport Development Officer via msehmi@cvlife.co.uk

All sessions at The Wave are operating in line with current Government guidelines, and information regarding visitor guidance and additional safety measures can also be found on The Wave’s website. Go CV pricing is also available for Quiet Time sessions.

For more information about CV Life and its facilities, go to www.cvlife.co.uk

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