swim21 Club Essential Case Studies

The importance of swim21 Club Essential and how it has benefited ASA clubs can be evidenced in the following case studies.

Gateshead and Whickham Amateur Swimming Club

Gateshead and Wickham logo

Gateshead and Whickham Amateur Swimming Club recently completed their swim21 essential accreditation. We caught up with their swim21 Co-ordinator Andy Strickland to talk about their experiences.

Why did the club decide to do swim21 Essential?
Gateshead and Whickham ASC realised that whilst we were still providing a safe and enjoyable experience for our swimmers and that we were enjoying moderate success in competition we were not being as efficient as we could be. The club saw that by doing swim21 Essential, there was an opportunity to develop the club further and build in a business continuity plan to enable and ensure success for the club for many years to come as well as access potential regional and national funding and continued professional development (CPD) opportunities.

How long did it take you to complete all the elements?
From start to finish about seven months. This was effectively driven by the dates for the regional and national assessment panels but we used the time to forensically examine our four-year business plan and also update and improve some policies.

Which were the hardest elements to complete?
We had allowed ourselves to drift as far as CPDs were concerned and decided to put a lot of horsepower behind increasing the training and qualification levels of our team. We have raised the number of personnel that we have with Safeguarding and Protecting Children and Time to Listen CPD qualifications from the bare minimum we required to over 20 and 6 respectively. This gives us a great deal of flexibility and redundancy has certainly chased one of the crocodiles away from our canoe!!

Secondly, pulling together a coherent four-year business plan that we could realistically drive forward for the benefit of all swimmers in the club. Clearly, this has dependencies on so much more that goes on within the club so we had to make it clear and understandable with achievable targets and measurable benefits and outcomes.

What impact has the accreditation had on the club?
Whilst pursuing accreditation, we realised that our committee structure, despite achieving our aims and objectives was not operating as efficiently as it could be. We were talking about the right stuff but having a few problems realising the benefits of some great ideas and enthusiasm. We are in the process of streamlining this now and swim21 was definitely the catalyst.

We have also now further developed our Swimming Squad Representative system to be qualified in their own right as approved Welfare Officers, providing invaluable support to our Club Welfare Officer. This is proving to be a great success although we still have more progress to be made. Our next step is to reinvigorate our fundraising committee to a well-led, coordinated team ensuring that we do not miss any opportunity for targeted and successful fundraising.

Any top tips or advice for other clubs thinking about swim21 accreditation?
Don’t be frightened of what you see in swim21. I think most clubs will already be doing what you need to; it is just a case of articulating it. The administration is generally straightforward. Look to the easy modules first and your confidence will grow. swim21 is all about building blocks. Completing the accreditation will set you at an acceptable level but use it to further develop your club and the sky’s the limit. The support offered by the Regional Development Officers was also fantastic and well worth dipping into.

Garstang Swimming Club

Garstang SC informed the ASA that swim21 was integral to helping a brand new committee run their club. They used the compliance section of swim21 to audit their club and committee and to see which areas needed work and what policies and procedures needed reviewing. The compliance section also offered guidance on what the committee roles entailed and helped to build the confidence of the new members. The audit led to an action plan, which led to contracts for their entire paid workforce and establishing working relationships with their local council and facilities team.

Tyldesley Swimming Club

Tyldesley SC was keen to gain re-accreditation using the new online portal, which was achieved in June 2014. When questioned about the online portal, the club commented that it was straightforward to use, despite initial thoughts, it was beneficial not have to complete elements in number order and they noted that it wasn’t too time consuming once the process commenced. The club identified a number of benefits of being swim21 accredited, including:

  • External recognition of high standards from the National Governing Body and Sport England
  • Self reflection was a real benefit i.e. becoming more aware of staff qualifications/up skilling and appropriate timescales for this
  • The club was more professional i.e. becoming more accountable for identifying workforce needs, reviewing all qualifications and undertaking appraisals

Stalybridge Swimming Club

Stalybridge Swimming Club, based in the North West, is an ASA swim21 Essential club, having first gained the NGB kite mark in 2012.  The main reasons that the club decided to undertake swim21 were:

  • to ensure they were following correct guidelines especially in relation to dealing with children
  • to ensure their volunteers were appropriately qualified
  • to be recognised as a quality club locally/nationally.

Club committee members noted that “when we first started swim21 it was time consuming, however once the portal was launched it became much easier as people could submit information online. In addition we received invaluable guidance from the portal templates and ASA staff members (thanks Jonathan Harrison!).  The portal is also helpful in allowing us to review information at different points during the year rather than leaving everything until a certain time.  The portal is great, it’s easy to upload information and the system shows you drafts of your documents, which can be amended when required”.

Like many swim21 clubs, Stalybridge has now gained recognition from parents and other swimming clubs, in addition to gaining financial assistance to purchase equipment i.e. new starting blocks, which has benefitted the club a great deal.  Due to being a swim21 club they have also obtained funding for coaching courses, which has been particularly helpful for their workforce.

Congratulations to Stalybridge from the ASA Clubs Team!

In the past, due to their swim21 accreditation, the club was also able to secure additional funding. They received £500 from the ASA North West region, Sportivate funding for Mini Polo (to cover equipment, payment for teaching staff and pool hire) and a £100 IoS voucher, which was used towards teaching and coaching courses for their staff. 

Spenborough Swimming Club

Spenborough Swimming Club completed their swim21 essential accreditation in June 2015 and we caught up with Michael Brickwood from the club, to talk about their experience.

To be honest we initially decided to do our swim21 essential accreditation more out of necessity rather than choice. We were faced with massive increases in pool hire from our local council but they would offer us 25% discount if we were a swim 21 accredited club.

When completing the elements, nothing was particularly hard, it was just time consuming in parts, however this was partly due to the fact that when we had decided to go through the process we used this as an opportunity to review absolutely everything we did at the club.

As a result of going though the swim21 accreditation process, our coaching team has increased and are now better qualified. We need to make the most of the fact we are a swim21 club and promote ourselves more moving forward.

Some excellent advice for other clubs is ….. don’t be daunted by swim21!  We are a better club for it and have a better structure. The impact of swim21 does not change how you run your club as initially we were apprehensive about how it would affect us.  Get a couple of people involved in the admin side of things as this will help a great deal and make contact with your Club Development Officer/Regional staff. The support we had from Dan was top class – nothing was too much trouble!

To find out more about becoming swim21 accredited click here to find your Regional Club Development Officer or local Club Co-ordinator.

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