Mother whose daughter has cerebral palsy encourages disabled people to join Otters Swimming Club at the Venue Leisure Centre, Elstree Way

Olivia relies on the use of a wheelchair because her conidition causes stiff and short muscles

Olivia relies on the use of a wheelchair because her conidition causes stiff and short muscles

First published in News Borehamwood Times: Photograph of the Author by , Chief Reporter

A mother whose daughter has cerebral palsy says a disabled swimming club has given her four-year-old a “burst of confidence.”

Gemma Biggs, of Lemsford Court, Borehamwood, has been taking Olivia to Otters Swimming Club, at the Venue Leisure Centre in Shenley Road, for around a month.

The 38-year-old is now encouraging other disabled people to join the club, which sees a range of people aged four to 91 attend each week.

She said: “The Paralympics have shown us that despite a disability, it is still possible to get involved in sports.

“Swimming in a non-threatening environment has helped Olivia in many ways. In the pool she can walk around independently, which she usually cannot do.

“I can tell her legs are stronger already. She has been trying to stand up by herself and is very determined.

“Hearing her squeal with excitement when she enters the water is amazing.

“It can be very difficult to find something to do with a disabled child so the fact that this club is available is fantastic – people should be taking advantage of it.”

Olivia, who also lives with her dad, David, a chartered architect, and her three-year-old sister Emily, relies on the use of a wheelchair because her conidition causes stiff and short muscles. 

The reception pupil, who goes to Meadow Wood Special School in Bushey, said: “I love going swimming and making splashes in the water.

“I like going to the corners of the pool and climbing on the steps. I feel stronger in the pool because I can walk in the water.”

The club is open to anyone with a disability and meets from 4.30pm every Saturday.

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