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Brit Homeless Find Free Scuba Diving Lessons A Breath Of Fresh Air; 'Something Different'

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SHEFFIELD, U.K. -- Residents at The Salvation Army’s Charter Row Social Services Centre in Sheffield are finding their scuba diving lessons with a local diving company a breath of fresh air.

The homeless centre, which caters for up to 56 residents, has teamed up with city-based Tigerdive at SDS water sports which is kindly allowing residents to dip into scuba diving sessions.

So far, 15 residents have taken the plunge by getting kitted out in the Buoyancy Control Devises, face mask and breathing apparatus. Three or four residents are join Tigerdive sessions at Maltby Sports Centre, Braithwell Road, Maltby, Rotherham, at any one time with staff from Charter Row on hand to support them in their new experience.

Stephen Burnell, Centre Manager at Charter Row, who himself is a keen scuba diver said residents are already reaping the benefits of their new found watery challenge. The sessions help form part of their resettlement programme, which aims to equip them with the necessary life skills, such as budgeting, as well as finding a more permanent accommodation.

Stephen said: “We have a very wide and varied social calendar here at Charter Row and scuba diving is just one aspect of that which we are now able to offer thanks to a great partnership we have forged with Tigerdive and the support from all the team”.

“This gives our residents the chance to try something different and learn new skills at the same time.

“I’m finding that the scuba diving is helping to build their team working and self-confidence. It is also fantastic to see so many of our residents conquering their fears by taking to the water.”

Stephen is hoping to work towards his PADI scuba instructor award so he can join Tigerdivers when taking residents scuba diving in the future and he hasn’t ruled out an under water basketball match for other hostels!

Mark Edley, is a master instructor at Tigerdive of more than 30 years experience, he said: “We are all about making scuba diving accessible to people no matter what their age or background and we are delighted to be working with The Salvation Army.

“Obviously we are hoping those that come on the taster sessions come back for more but we are just happy to open up a whole new world to them and present new challenges for them to face.

“Many find it a very pleasurable experience that might not normally be made available to them.”

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