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Prestigious award for water babies boss Helen Straw

Prestigious award for water babies boss Helen Straw supporting image

Network Foundation recognises work with young swimmers

Businesswoman Helen Straw has been recognized as the ‘most inspirational person or business in the Network Foundation’s South Yorkshire business awards.


Helen has been running water babies classes across South Yorkshire since 2014 and the award was given in recognition the success of her business, as well as the work she does for the wider organisation as a senior tutor and assessor - most notably, for her pioneering work training new teachers and franchisees in China.


Helen said: “I am so excited to have received this award, especially as it’s voted for by local business people, and I am so proud of what I have achieved. I am looking forward to the exciting new challenges in the pipeline both locally and abroad”


The specialist classes, designed to make the most of babies’ natural affinity with water, teach confidence and safety and uses expert techniques with children from just one day old upuntil the age of five.


The lessons are fun for both parent and child, the programme also has a serious added benefit. “Worryingly, research we commissioned recently revealed that 75 per cent of parents are unaware that drowning is the third highest cause of accidental death in children in the UK,” said Helen. “we passionately believe that by introducing babies to water as early as possible, they’ll be less likely to experience fear if they were ever to fall in to water”.


“With progressive training, babies can be taught lifesaving skills such as turning onto their backs or, following a sudden submersion, swimming to the nearest solid object very early on. In the last few years at least ten tiny water babies pupils have saved their own lives, five of whom were just two years old at the time. It’s fantastic what vital skills children can learn, and it’s so important that they do so as soon as possible.”        


In addition to the more serious safety skills, another key focus of the half-hour sessions is enhancing bonding and generally having great fun together. Helen added: “with research showing that new mothers are less likely to suffer from post-natal depression if they can gain support from their peers, that’s another reason why we’re very proud of what we do.”


Water babies classes are available in Sheffield, Rotherham, Doncaster, Barnsley and Chesterfield. For more information, please phone helen and her friendly team on 01909 776660, email or visit

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