Harry makes a splash with great swimming achievement

Allsorts member Harry smiling in a swimming pool while holding a multi-coloured ball and wearing black swimming goggles

At Allsorts we believe that learning to swim is an essential life skill. Since June 2023, we’ve engaged with over 70 family members through over 580 swimming sessions at National Star College.

One participant who has benefitted from one-on-one lessons is 14-year-old Allsorts member and Belmont School pupil, Harry Chilman.

Since joining Allsorts, Harry’s confidence and ability in the swimming pool have really developed.

“When he first started swimming, he hated it,” explained Harry’s Mum, Sadie. “Harry would be kicking and screaming, he would not put a foot in the water. He loves being in the water now. On holidays he’s in the sea, it’s nice to see Harry enjoy water, instead of being frightened.”

The individualised Allsorts lessons have helped Harry thrive in the water. “We hadn’t tried mainstream lessons; I was wary of how many children participate. It wasn’t the environment for him. He needed one-on-one support with the teachers, because he was afraid of the water.”

Through perseverance and hard work, Harry’s swimming has improved greatly, with the 14-year-old forming “amazing relationships with Allsorts’ staff”.

“Harry and swimming coach Dan always talk about football; he lets Dan know how bad Chelsea are! It’s taken Swimming coach Lily just six months for Harry to swim unaided. He would never put his face in the pool before, and she’s helped him overcome that.”

Harry has Kabuki syndrome – a condition that affects one in 32,000. “We were told when he was born, that he possibly wouldn’t see, talk or walk, but he’s defying it all. Rugby, football, swimming – anything sporty, he loves it. It’s important Harry has that life skill. If he’s anywhere and there’s water around, if he was to fall in, he’s got the skill that he can swim.”

Alongside lessons, Allsorts offer Family Swim Sessions where the whole family can enjoy the water. Sessions are held in the fully accessible swimming pool at National Star College, with hoisting available for those who need it.

While our swimming lessons are very popular and have great impact on our participants, the sessions are currently underfunded and we still need £9,594 to keep them running. We’ve had some incredible support so far, with £15,220 already donated, but our target is £24,814.

With your help, these lessons will continue for many more young people, enabling them to have fun whilst learning a vital life skill. Please donate if you can.