Happy Birthday…North Star Swimming Club!!

North Star Swimming Club was set up inSt. Raphael’s Pool, Celbridge, 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.  The Club originally only catered for people (children and adults) who had Spina Bifida or Cerebal Palsy. Due to increasing demand the club now endeavours to provide lessons and an introduction to swimming to people who have a disability. The members travel from Dublin, Meath and Kildare.

Currently there are 25 members, ranging in age from 6 to 50+.  There is also a long waiting list.

Initially the club ran one session.  However 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.

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.

The North Star Swimming 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 the club 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.

The Club is also an extended support network for parents/ guardians/ family of members.  Parents are not required to get into the pool.  This provides time for them to chat and to share experiences etc.

There is an important social aspect involved in the club for all who are associated.  There is an annual trip to the National Aquatic Centre in Blanchardstown.  The end of year dinner before the summer break is a favourite event (where acknowledgements of the hard work throughout the year are recognised). And not to forget the Christmas Party where we are joined by our ex-sister club. These events are vitally important for the Club as it allows members, volunteers and families to socialise.

It is important to note that all the helpers give of their time on a voluntary basis. This requires a commitment of at least two hours each Sunday afternoon during the school terms. In addition some help to organise and assist with fundraisers, the annual social events and try to raise the profile of the Club is given. These volunteers are vital to the club’s existence.

To celebrate our 20th anniversary the Club is holding a celebratory get-together for members, past and present. The Club would be happy to hear from former members and helpers who would like to join the celebrations. The party will take place in St Mary’s GAA Club Leixlip on the 29th September 2012 from 4pm. Please contact Valerie @ northstarswimmingclub@gmail.com before 1st September 2012 to confirm bookings.

Finally, the Club would like to thank all those who have supported it over the past twenty years, both those who gave of the time and those who assisted financially. It is only through their charitable assistance that North Star Swimming Club has managed to maintain its valuable service to the community.