Places available for “life changing” Great East Swim programme


Lavinia was one of 77 individuals who signed up and took part in the Great East Swim outreach programme in 2018 and has not looked back since.

Lavinia said her experience was "life changing. Confidence boosting. I have strengthened friendships, increased confidence in my abilities and improved my physical and mental health and strength vastly.”

The programme is ideal for anyone that would like to become more active and are ready to make that change in their life. There are 96 places available on the 2019 programme, which starts in March and culminates on the 22 June 2019 at the Great East Swim at Alton Water reservoir near Ipswich.

The programme is open to individuals who are aged 18 years and over who are not currently physically active. The programme will be taking place at Crown Pools in Ipswich and Haverhill Leisure Centre, Haverhill between March and June.

This will be the eighth year that the programme has been run, during which time over 370 individuals looking to make a positive change to their health and wellbeing have completed the challenge of swimming either half a mile or 1 mile in open water at the Great East Swim.

The 2019 programme is delivered in partnership with, Suffolk County Council, Ipswich Borough Council, Abbeycroft Leisure Trust, Suffolk Sport and Allied Health professionals.

Suffolk County Council’s Cabinet Member for Health, Councillor James Reeder said:

“I have seen first-hand the impact this programme can have on individuals who sign up and it is inspiring to see them complete the challenge of the Great East Swim. The health-related benefit of taking part in regular physical activity is clear and I would encourage anyone who is considering getting active, but just needs some support and motivation to take the next step, to sign up and get involved.”

“We are working in partnership to integrate physical activity into as many aspects of life as possible through our ambition of becoming the Most Active County in England.”

Individuals who sign up for the programme will receive an extensive package of support which aims to provide them with the confidence, stamina and self-belief to complete their personal challenge and become active for life. The package of support includes:

  • Three months fully supported training with professional swimming coaches
  • Three months free membership to one of the participating leisure centres
  • Free fast track physiotherapy support and strength and conditioning classes
  • Free entry to the Great East Swim 2019
  • Free wetsuit hire
  • Pre-event open water training session/s
  • All the encouragement and advice required from the programme team

Valued at over £200 per participant, the opportunities are being made available at a small one-off charge of £30 per person.

To apply for a place on the programme, visit and complete the registration form. The programme coordinator will then be in touch directly to discuss the programme in more detail. 

If you’re interested in taking part in the training for the Great East Swim 2019 but would like further information, please contact Carol Lukins, Programme Coordinator on 07955 735514 or at