A SWIMMING school offering adapted lessons for people with autism is desperately searching for a new pool.

Company Aqua-Babe teaches from The Junction Sports and Leisure Centre in Poole but needs more space to meet the ‘growing demand’ for its bespoke lessons.

The school’s founder, Kim Willingham, said: “It’s really growing, and I just haven’t got enough quiet pool time.

“There's got to be a hotel, or somebody out there, that might be able to offer me a quiet pool so I can help these lovely swimmers because I have to keep turning them down because I can’t accommodate them.”

Aqua-Babe was launched more than 26 years ago to provide baby, toddler, and pre-school swimming lessons, and more recently, introduced sessions for people with autism.

Kim currently provides the adapted lessons for eight children and adults.

Speaking about their importance, she said: “These children are often excluded from school swimming sessions.

“The ones I’ve got have been asked to leave the swimming groups they were in because they can’t conform.

“So, it’s about inclusivity and diversity.”

Explaining how teaching a person with autism differs, Kim added: “They are neurodiverse, and sometimes they can’t cope with the smell of chlorine, or the noise, or can’t do the mainstream learning if they can’t sit and listen.”

Kim explained that many of her swimmers require ‘quiet times’ in the pool, and so any new pool would need to accommodate this.

She told the Echo: “The most important thing is having tranquillity.

“A busy public pool is not ideal because it’s just overloaded sensory for them.

“It doesn’t have to be deep, it doesn’t have to be big, just somewhere for them to be able to get in the water, and feel safe with me and make progress.

“It’s not needed every week, or every day.”

But Kim’s dreams go beyond a hotel pool, with the Wareham resident previously saying: “If I won the lottery, I’d build a swimming pool in Dorset with the 50m and 25m lanes, and then a nice warm pool for the disabled and the young.

"I’d teach and everyone could use the pool free of charge.”