As part of the Floats Initiative, Assist Social Capital received funding from the Young Start Award of the Big Lottery Fund to increase access to swimming lessons for communities across Scotland through
(a) providing training opportunities for young people
(b) establishing community-based swimming schools and
(c) creating as well as promoting an online platform to manage swim schools for new young teachers and community swim school
Year 1: Provision of Swim Schools and Teacher Training
Year 2: The 'Swim School in a Box'
During the first year of our project we aimed at delivering the first two aspects of delivering swim teacher training and establishing swimming courses in communities.
During the second year we developed a fully functional website for managing a swim school.
- Young Start: 'Swim Teacher Training' -
- Floats Swim Schools -
To increase the numbers of swimming schools as well as classes, who better to train than a young generation of swim teachers. The training opportunities provided through the Floats project does not only increase the number of available and fully qualified swim but it also provides an opportunity for young people aged 16-24 as they are three times more likely to be unemployed.
During this first period, Assist Social Capital delivered 130 training opportunities to 7o young people across Scotland. The training was provided area the following three areas:
- Swim Teacher Training - Lifesaving - First Aid -
The training has been facilitated across five different locations in Scotland with 58 percent delivered in the Central Belt, 13 percent in the Highlands and 29 percent in the Lowlands.
The second part of Floats focussed on developing swim schools for rural communities by running 13 courses in
- Bettyhill near Thurso,
- Glencoe and
by working with 3 communities to set up new swim schools.
- Floats 'Swim School in a Box'-
Currently, we are in the second year of the project. To support new community swim schools, young teachers and social enterprises interested in setting up or running a local swim school we are developing the Swim School in a Box which is a administrative tool for managing swimming classes, schedules and staff through an online platform.
To find out more about the Swim School in a Box click here
As part of the launch of the Swim School in a Box in September 2015 we will be giving away two of the platforms for FREE to two young entrepreneurs and/or community sport clubs.
If you are interested in the Swim School in a Box, please contact us
Why do we need more available swimming lessons?
As the numbers of swimming pools are declining in the UK, so does the amount of swimming lessons available to children as well as adults. One of the consequences is that according to Ofsted schools have to cut down in the amount of swimming lessons due to increasing costs and travel time. In many cases alone the travel to the nearest available pool can be twice as long as the swimming lesson itself! It comes therefore as no surprise that the figure of children aged 11-18 swimming on a weekly basis dropped considerably since 1993: one in four children used to go swimming weekly, by 2008 the number had reduced to only one in ten children (British Market Research Bureau).
On the other hand children today are more than twice as likely to spend their free time watching TV compared to playing sports as the British Triathlon Survey highlighted. At the same time child obesity figures are rising from 10.9 percent of boys and 12 percent of girls being obese in 1995 to 17.3 percent and 14.7 percent, respectively, in 2006 (NHS). This emphasises the importance of making sports including swimming more accessible to children.
Another major reason to increase swimming lessons is to address the issue of drowning incidents. The WTO has identified death by drowning as "serious and neglected public health threat" due to it being amongst the 10 leading causes of death worldwide with over half of all drownings occurring among those aged 25 and below. In the UK alone more than 400 accidental deaths by drowning happen every year and it being the third highest cause of death in children.
In order to address those problems more swimming schools as well as swimming teachers are required. During year 1, the Floats project aimed at contributing to this objective by supporting swim schools - primarily aimed at children - to be set up as well as training young people to become swim teachers. During the current second year of the project, Floats aims at developing a software platform called 'Swim School in a Box' for community-based initiatives and social enterprises providing swimming lessons to manage the administrative side of a swim school.