Foundation helps launch swimming support van

Posted on: July 24, 2023 at 3:46 pm

Cold-water swimming has become a hot topic over the last few years.

The Isle of Wight, being surrounded by sea, is joining in the boom.

One group that is making sure the sea is safe and accessible to swimmers of all abilities is Swim the Wight.

The group has received a £16,000 grant from the Isle of Wight Foundation, made up of the partners behind Island Roads, towards a support vehicle for group swims that take place on Island beaches.

Every week, more than 60 swimmers benefit mentally and physically from the safe sea-swim sessions run by this social enterprise.

Swim the Wight runs Sea Café sessions for people to have a dip and a social cuppa afterwards at Yaverland and other spots around the Island.

Now it is campaigning for a multi-functional, accessible, 50 metre-plus tidal-fed sea pool between two groynes at Sandown.

As well as sea swimming, the pool would be used by kayakers and for scuba training.

Welcoming the funding for the van from the Isle of Wight Foundation, Swim the Wight founder Victoria Thornton-Field said: “I want to thank the foundation for this grant, which will help support our growing venture.

“I would also like to thank the Isle of Wight Sports Foundation for its financial support, which, again, has been most welcome.

Rob Gillespie, chairman of the Isle of Wight Foundation which comprises Meridiam, Island Roads Services, Ringway Island Roads and Vinci Concessions, said: “The mental and physical benefits of sea swimming are now well known, so we were pleased to support Swim the Wight with this grant.”

Claire Beasley, chair of the Isle of Wight Sports Foundation, added: “When we heard of the good work being done by Swim the Wight to improve mental and physical wellbeing, our trustees were happy to support a grant towards the purchase of the support vehicle.”