Can you make a splash and turn the tide for some of Derbyshire’s most vulnerable people?

We are mounting a massive sponsored swimming challenge this summer to raise vital funds for Elderfriends – a befriending programme which reaches out to the lonely and socially isolated in our region.

The `Swim Against Loneliness event will be staged over eight days from the first to the ninth of July at various pools in the region, including Queen’s Park Leisure Centre, Chesterfield. The project is backed by Chesterfield Town Council.

To add some fun and a little twist, we are setting particular `challenges’ for swimmers to sign up for. For example: `Conquer Mount Everest, or `Escape from Alcatraz’.  Each `challenge’ is measured in miles (and therefore lengths of the swimming baths), with escaping from Alcatraz taking a mere two miles (220 lengths) against `swimming’ Mt Everest, which at 5.5miles high is the equivalent to 442.5 lengths.

Or perhaps your team will be able to take on swimming the 46miles of the Chesterfield Canal?

The bigger distances could be a challenge for the whole team to complete but participants can also make up their own challenges, or just swim as far as they feel able. You can book your swim in one block, or stagger it over a number of days.

Loneliness can affect anyone but elderly people are particularly susceptible and it is a significant risk factor for a wide range of mental and physical health problems. Thousands benefit each year from Elderfriends and the service proved particularly crucial during lockdown. It is run purely by volunteers but like many charities, we are now struggling with funds post-pandemic.

We now need to raise the £30,000 in order to keep delivering Elderfriends for the next 12 months. Some local businesses have already signed up along with 1,500 schoolchildren who are taking part via local swimming clubs.  As well as this website, we are running a Just Giving page.

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