How Open Minds Active Is Bringing Swim-based Wellness to the South West How Open Minds Active Is Bringing Swim-based Wellness to the South West

How Open Minds Active Is Bringing Swim-based Wellness to the South West

As part of our ongoing Community Partner Series, we’re shining a light on the charities and non-profits that are changing lives through their swim-based projects.

Today, we’re starting with an inspiring organisation that’s working to strengthen mental health and improve wellbeing for communities in Bristol and the South West.

We’re talking about Open Minds Active CIC.

And we’re proud to be a part of their incredible mission.

A community of wellbeing

Open Minds Active CIC (OMA) is a social impact organisation that helps communities connect with nature through outdoor activities and wellness workshops.

Their mission is simple:

To build a diverse and inclusive community that helps to reduce isolation, support wellbeing, and foster positive mental health.

One of the main ways they do it is by creating access to safe swimming spaces and swim education.

And that puts OMA and SOUL CAP on exactly the same page.

An inclusive wide reach

OMA is a local organisation working in and around Bristol and the South West.

Last year alone, they engaged with over 1,300 people directly with their programmes — from swim hikes and swim lessons to workshops and wild swimming.

They’ve got a wide range of programmes reaching a wide range of people, including:

  • Refugees and asylum seekers
  • People from areas with high health inequalities
  • People with mental or physical health conditions
  • Young adults with learning needs
  • And excluded citizens in the community. 

But the effects of their work go deeper than that:

On top of the groups and individuals they help, OMA’s projects have a wider effect on the larger community.

They’re helping to reduce the burden on NHS services. And in some cases, help people reduce their reliance on medication for their mental health.

Connecting with nature

OMA is focused on swim-based wellness and activities that aim to bring people closer to the outdoors.

That means creating access to projects like:

  • Social Prescribing Wild Swimming
  • Community Nature-based Events
  • Swim Hikes
  • Learn to Swim for Women of Colour
  • Harbour Swims
  • And Team Away Days and Workforce Wellbeing Workshops.

And the results?

In their swim lessons for women of colour, more than half of their students started as complete non-swimmers. After the programme, 100% of their learners felt more confident in the water, and many of them started swimming with their children outside of lessons.

In their wild swimming programme, more than 80% of OMA’s participants said their anxiety had reduced after just 6 weeks of engaging with them — and nearly 90% saw an increase in their overall happiness levels.

These incredible improvements to the abilities and wellbeing of the local community wouldn’t have been possible without the work of OMA — and the efforts and support of the volunteers who make it happen.

And it’s exactly the kind of swim-based empowerment we love to see here at SOUL CAP.

How does SOUL CAP support OMA?

We partnered with Open Minds Active CIC to support the amazing work they do — in both opening up access to swimming, and improving the wellbeing of their communities.

As well as promoting their work and helping them connect with new opportunities, we also donate our swim caps — so that women learning to swim for the first time can feel confident and stress-free on their journey.

We’re proud to show our support for the valuable projects that OMA are working on. And we’re proud that our caps are helping their swimmers to get the most out of their time in the water.

How can I get involved?

Open Minds Active CIC is a community-based project run by a small crew of volunteers and staff.

That means your support can make a huge difference — to the people they help, and the future projects they organise.

So if you want to show your support for OMA, the best thing you can do is help to spread the word:

Visit their site and learn what they do, share their stories and successes on your social platforms — or drop them a message to offer your support and find out how you can get involved.

Because groups like OMA are all about community:

Whether it’s the people they help — or the people who help them do it.

We’ll be back with a new spotlight in our Community Partner Series soon. So keep checking back to learn about other inspiring charities — or scroll down and sign up with your email to get the latest updates straight in your inbox.

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