A club with a strong Kildare connection will celebrate its 20th anniversary in September.
The North Star Swimming Club has just finished its spring term with a family swim, followed by tea and presentation of Certificates of Achievement in St. Raphael’s, Celbridge.
“September will be an important month for us as we celebrate our 20th anniversary,” said spokesperson, Valerie Haugh.
NSSC was set up in 1992 to provide swimming lessons for people with disabilities living in North Kildare. “This was a subsidiary of a similar swimming club in South Kildare, which has since dispersed,” she said.
Ms. Haugh said the club originally catered only for people (children and adults) who have Spina Bifida or Cerebal Palsy but due to increasing demand it now tries now to provide lessons and introduction to swimming to people who have a disability.
Members travel from Kildare, Dublin and Meath. Currently there are 25 members, ranging in age from 6 to 50+ and there is also a long waiting list.
Initially the club ran one session but due to increased demand, a second session was introduced in 2008.
“The first session generally provides one to one support in the pool, ensuring members feel safe and comfortable in the water.
“The aim is to help each member to reach their full potential and above all to have fun,” she explained.
The second session is for more independent swimmers. The aim of this session is to develop the members stroke/water skills, to increase their stamina and to continue to grow in confidence in the water.
Ms. Haugh said the club is unique in that it provides for the individual needs of each member.
The Club is run by parents of swimmers and volunteers. Money to fund it comes mainly comes from fundraising, donations and a small annual membership fee.
The membership fee was introduced recently due to a reduction in fundraiser income and donations/ grants and increased costs.
- Henry Bauress