Over the past 12 months, Brighter Futures has supported many Larne-based projects, one of which is a local one called ‘Embrace’, that received a £450 grant as part of the Brighter Futures Community Fund Programme.
‘Embrace’ is a community-led project that aims to improve the physical and mental wellbeing of its group members via cold-water exposure. The project was launched in March 2022 by a group of cold-water swimmers, many of whom had previously experienced trauma, bereavement, anxiety and depression.
Since then, the number of local people regularly attending the sessions facilitated by Embrace has suppassed 50, with the group meeting twice per day on weekdays and once at the weekend. These sessions were enabled by the presence of four sea-safety trained swimmers; but the group was aware that more training was required to cope with the steady increase in demand.
Following the group’s application, Brighter Futures Trustees awarded £450 to fund indoor pool sessions at local leisure centres, and thus train an additional six members to supervise future group meetings. In addition to this, the indoor sessions allowed less confident group members to develop their swimming ability before heading out into the cold sea water.
Brighter Futures Trustee Roy Logan commented:
“The Embrace project is a fantastic story of local people using a shared interest to come together for a great cause. Thanks to the almost daily sea swimming sessions provided by the group, over 50 individuals are seeing an improvement in their physical and mental health.
“We were delighted to be able to provide funds for more training and would encourage any local community group to get in contact with us if they feel that there is a project we could support.”
Roy added: “Obviously, we would caution anyone thinking of taking up cold water swimming to ensure they seek advice and guidance from an organisation like Embrace, or an individual(s) with experience of the benefits and pitfalls involved.”
The Brighter Futures Community Fund Programme is continuing to take applications for funding, with an application form available for download by clicking here.