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The Fostering Foundation South West – Sponsorship for our Foster Carers triumphant in the pool!

Our foster carers Tim and Helen recently supported both their birth daughters and other children to attend a swimming competition in Fuerteventura – The Fostering Foundation are very proud to have been part of the sponsorship to enable the girls this fantastic opportunity.

Helen provided us with the following overview;

As you will all probably know already, Bryluen and Morenwyn have just returned from Fuerteventura, where they were amongst 34 swimmers, 5 coaches and 3 Team Managers selected to travel with a Cornwall-wide squad of talented South West athletes, who trained, for six hours a day, in a dedicated sporting resort in the Canary Islands, “Las Playitas”.           

They have had a week of amazing training – and fantastic opportunities – and we just wanted to take a moment to thank those who made it possible.

Las Playitas was a fantastic place. We all really appreciated the constant ‘buzz’ of inspiration, as there was serious sporting activity almost everywhere we looked. We trained in the pool alongside teams from Belgium, Germany and Scandinavian nations. We were also alongside other teams of cyclists, triathletes, runners, footballers and rugby players.

The week’s training offered an intense programme and although it was only seven days long, the effects of training will show benefits for the next year and longer, with increased achievements in relation to qualifying times for county, regional and national events. They gained improved technical stroke and skills; better understanding and use of land training sessions and the opportunity of training in a fifty metre pool, which is absent from Cornish leisure facilities, putting Cornish swimmers at a disadvantage compared with other counties.

Going to Fuerteventura also allowed everyone to gain so much in their personal development. The training group spanned from 8-22yrs in age, so social skills were developed and potentially lifelong friendships formed. They had to live with, and get along with, room-mates who were not family, exposing them to slightly different ways that people conduct their lives. The swimmers already had great discipline and high expectations of themselves; this training camp environment offered them the opportunity of intense training in a top class facility, in the warmer weather, with like-minded people.

The swimmers all attended two 2-hour sessions daily; pre-pool and post-pool mobilisation or a run and age-appropriate dry-side training in the gym, using state of the art equipment. Following the activities on a GB or England training camp, swimmers must rest in their rooms in the afternoon and this was enforced for a period each afternoon, which also allowed swimmers to catch up on homework and study if they needed to. Many others who came were part way through GCSE courses but schools had released them, seeing the real value in the holistic training. Swimmers were offered group activities from 1930 after dinner but lights out for all was before 2130, to ensure all were fit for swimming again at 0700!

Head Coach of North Cornwall Dragons, Helen Tooley, has been taking swimmers of all abilities on domestic and international training camps, for over 20 years. She was joined by a squad of qualified Team Managers from Bodmin, Wadebridge and Launceston, who attended Amateur Swimming Association courses and Safeguarding courses, in order to qualify them in their important role. The swimmers were at all times therefore completely safe and offered a structured programme of training.

On this occasion, two ex-Olympians, Steve Beckerleg and Jemma Lowe both also attended, in order to give the young people the benefit of their huge combined experience and add a different perspective to the training, with their real-life stories of how they had trained with Team GB and the expectations of swimmers who reach national and international competition levels. The girls just loved having ‘real’ Olympians in the pool and in the sea, often training alongside them!

The girl’s had so very many personal donations, through our fundraising page and given directly to them. Many others gave individual donations or contributions of things to sell when we were doing Table Top Sales and Car Boots galore, earlier in the year and those contributions raised further funds. They also had supportive donations from Launceston Rotary, Launceston Ladies Circle, Launceston Youth Council, Launceston Lions, Tavistock ‘Fostering Foundation’, the Plymouth Battisborough Trust and Phil Glew of Southgate Studios; we are really grateful to all of these organisations as well, for their interest and involvement in the opportunity the girl’s have had.

We would like to say a Huge ‘Thank you’ and hope that, if you have Facebook accounts you might have had chance to see some of our pictures taken whilst out there. They are all in a group called ‘Fuerta Friends and Family’, if you haven’t already seen some and would like to. It is hoped that further trips will run in coming years, to be inclusive of all children in swimming clubs across Cornwall but the girl’s were very lucky to be on one of the first trips run from the county to include young people from the Launceston area and they have gained enormously both in terms of their sporting achievements and their confidence levels.

So – “Thank You, One n All”, for all the support, financial contributions and encouragement that we have been given throughout the last twelve months.

Please know that your contributions were so very much appreciated.

Helen, Tim, Bryluen and Morenwyn x

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