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All-Female Swim Sessions arrive in Colchester

03 Dec All-Female Swim Sessions arrive in Colchester

This week, a diverse group of Colchester women are celebrating! On 5 December, Active Essex in partnership with Colchester Citizens will be offering the first truly women-only swim sessions at Leisure World Colchester. With modesty screening, all- female lifeguards and female spectators only, the pilot sessions will run on the first Wednesday of each month during term-time, between 6:30pm to 8pm, with up to two children (boys aged under 11 and girls aged 0-15) allowed in free with each paying woman.

Swimming is something a lot of us take for granted, but for a surprisingly large group of women the presence of men as lifeguards, fellow swimmers and spectators makes it difficult or impossible. When Colchester Citizens Alliance began forming, some of its listeners in the community met women wanting to swim but unable due to body image issues, lack of confidence, post-operative scars, cultural or religious reasons, past traumas, anxiety or self-consciousness coming from the pressure on women to be perfect.

Supported by Colchester Citizens, an action group formed: women and men from Essex University, Colchester Sixth Form College and Colchester Institute, plus Colchester Mosque, African Families In The UK, Colchester Foodbank and Colchester Churches. The group campaigned to raise awareness of swimming amongst its members, councillors and pools in the local area.

Leisure World Colchester set up a series of meetings with Colchester Citizens and Active Essex and this led to the pilot sessions being set up, part funded by Active Essex and Livewell. To find out if the demand is there to run them more regularly, ten sessions will run initially (term time only).

Rev. Caroline Beckett, currently chairing the developing Colchester Citizens Alliance, is delighted with the news. “We are really pleased to be working with Leisure World to run the pilot sessions. It’s a fantastic opportunity for the women we represent to gain the opportunity to be fit and active, connect with each other and learn a vital life skill. We have been working closely with Leisure World for several months to make this possible and it has required adjustments on both sides. Now it’s up to Colchester’s women to use it or lose it!”

These pilot sessions are open to women to attend, you do not need to be a member of Colchester Citizens. Each session is £6 per adult, boys aged under 11 and girls aged 0-15 swim for free. For more details visit