Skip to content

4.4 Healing Waters: Breathe in The Brecks

Providing opportunities for communities to reconnect to the landscape and heritage through a programme of healthy outdoor activities.

Delivery Lead Organisation: BFER Team / Imogen Radford (Volunteer and Outdoor Swimming Society representative) / West Stow Country Park

Project Update

October 2021

Our Health and Wellbeing Activities Programme kicked off this month with Positive Steps Fitness and Wellbeing delivering a free Nordic Walking Taster Session at West Stow.

On 13th October there was a beginner session for participants to learn some basic techniques and see if Nordic walking was something they would enjoy. The taster was a resounding success and the participants all went away with smiles on their faces!


August 2021

August saw the first of our introduction to outdoor swimming for families. We have 33 parents, 40 children join of which 33 were aged 3-12 years old and 7seven were aged 13-16 years old.


To view more photos from the event: Click Here

June 2021

On Sunday 6th June we held our first intro to outdoor swimming event at Jubilee Fields in Mildenhall. 100 members of the public joined in with 24 volunteers and lifeguards overseeing the event.

To view more photos from the event: Click Here

May 2021

In May 2021 11 participants took part in a 3 day training course to become Open Water Lifeguards.

11 participants receiving their open water lifeguard certificate

Click the video below to see how they got on, on their final day.





To provide opportunities for communities to reconnect to the landscape and heritage through a programme of healthy outdoor activities

To engage people in healthy outdoor activities, including learning to enjoy the waters safely and with care for the environment; and in mapping, recognising, establishing and publicising suitable places to swim or for other recreational uses of the rivers

To provide opportunities for those audience most in need, and ‘hard to engage’ audiences in supported and fun outdoor activities.

To create sustainable, mutually beneficial partnerships and links between BFER partners, heritage organisations and local and regional public health providers, support groups and charities.


This project will connect communities to the Landscape through a programme of community health focussed activity. It will engage with a wide range of audiences, but elements will focus on, supporting those with mental and physical health issues, and those who are socially isolated or excluded through illness or addiction. Activities will include the creation, conservation and restoration of wetland, riparian woodland, and wild space as well as more traditional accessible outdoor activities.

It will seek to push at increasingly opening doors at NHS trusts and other health care providers to create new links and partnership to benefit communities. It will link with GPs, Health support groups and County initiates including Active Norfolk and Active Suffolk. It will provide the basis for the BFER scheme’s ‘Health Benefits’ monitoring and evaluation aspirations by providing an evidence base for demonstrating the benefits of outdoor activities.

This project will also engage people with outdoor swimming in the Brecks through a series of swimming events, and training of volunteer Open Water Swimming lifeguards. It will engage with a variety of audiences to reconnect people to the joy of swimming outdoors, enabling them to enjoy the water safely and to mitigate risks.

If you’d like to get involved in this project contact us for more information or to be added to the project mailing list:


You can find out more information over on Imogen Radford’s website:

OS Brecks