At All4One, Francis Hazleton teaches disabled children and adults how to swim, writes Laura Burgoine…
Initially, Francis’ company worked with people who had a variety of mental and physical disabilities within Greenwich. “Now we welcome clients from outside the borough,” Francis said.
Currently based at the Greenwich Leisure Centre, classes operate on a one-to-one or one instructor per two student ratio, depending on the needs of the individual.
Francis, who has been a swim teacher for six years working with Olympic and national standard coaches, set up her swim school after being frustrated by the lack of local resources allocated to parents and carers in the Greenwich and Lewisham area, particularly about the lack of swimming opportunities for children and adults with a disability.
“Those few courses that were advertised were often oversubscribed, at inconvenient times or lacked the mobility training to see any real results from week to week,” Francis said.
Francis previously set up a swim school in Lewisham with Signal Family Support. “These experiences have helped me to form my own philosophies and coaching style that has led to my success within this field,” Francis said. “I wanted a swim school that embodied this style of teaching but also allowed coaches who work for me to develop their own too.”
There is a shortage of swimming teachers with experience in working with children and adults with mobility issues and learning difficulties. Francis has also struggled to find teachers willing or interested in taking on these jobs.
“I founded All4oneSwimming to bring together teachers and coaches that had a burning passion for broadening minds, exploring new ways of teaching those with a disability and exchanging ideas and philosophies,” she said.
All4oneSwimming has adapted the widely recognised Amateur Swimming Association’s Learn to Swim programme because Francis recognises that not every swimmer is able to achieve perfect criteria within each stage.
“No two swimmers are the same even though they may be diagnosed with the same condition and so it is paramount to us to create bespoke training programmes,” she said.
“Freedom in the water can lead to a reconnection with the world around them.”
All4oneSwimming offers the chance to learn a new skill and get fit. “But most importantly it empowers a disabled person and gives them the confidence to grow and achieve other goals in their life outside the pool,” Francis said.
The swim school now runs on Saturdays between 3pm and 6pm.
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