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ASA launches pledge to get 10,000 more children swimming

13 February 2014

Yesterday saw the launch of the Responsibility Deal physical activity pledge from the ASA and its partners, the Swimathon Foundation at a temporary pool in Hackney, London.

A host of delegates attended the launch, which included ASA Chief Executive David Sparkes OBE, ASA Group Board Chair Edward Lord OBE, the Prime Minister’s Olympic and Paralympic Legacy Ambassador Lord Sebastian Coe, Public Health Minister Jane Ellison, Department of Education Minister Edward Timpson, as well as Swimathon Foundation Chair Anthony Kendall, Olympic Gold Medallist Duncan Goodhew and Sport England Chief Executive Jennie Price.

The pledge will see the ASA and Swimathon Foundation join forces to provide schools with the tools to get 10,000 pupils swimming above and beyond the minimum Key Stage 2 requirement through the School Swimathon programme.

School Swimathon sets a challenge for pupils to develop their swimming ability and swim further than they have ever swum before. It is set to help less active children improve their swimming, build their confidence in the water and ultimately ‘swim their best’. The programme is not about trying to make children into elite athletes, but helping them discover the physical and social benefits of joining activities and importantly, that it is something everyone can enjoy.

Public Health Minister Jane Ellison, said: “Physical activity is the essential ingredient for a happy healthier nation – it can deliver so many benefits for individuals and the wider community.

“The Olympic and Paralympic legacy has already delivered good results with over 1.5 million more people doing sport once a week than when we won the bid to host the Games. By working together we can achieve more and make sure getting more people moving is the biggest legacy to London 2012.”

“The ASA’s Responsibility Deal pledge – helping to get 10,000 children swimming more exemplifies this partnership approach.”

The Prime Minister’s Olympic and Paralympic Legacy Ambassador, Lord Coe commented: “The legacy from the 2012 Games is a long-term project to deliver lasting change. But this initiative has the biggest potential impact for our nation’s health. 

“A joined-up approach to challenging inactivity and encouraging physical activity is key. It will bring together government, local government, business and above all the individuals and community groups - who know how to get people moving.”    

The launch took place at Daubeney Primary School, following the recent delivery of a temporary pool funded by the Mayor’s “Make a Splash” scheme. Hackney has some of the lowest ‘Learn to Swim’ rates in London amongst children, with only 23% of children being able to swim the length of a swimming pool by the time they leave primary school. This is less than half the national average, which stands at 51%. The school is already helping its pupils get active and is taking part in the type of initiative the Responsibility Deal physical activity network is all about.

Janice Thomas, Executive Head of the school cluster commented:”Daubeney is supporting the Responsibility Deal because we believe we can play our part in helping people and especially our children to lead healthier lives. Having the pool on site means that all of our children have access to a pool and the ability to learn to swim and have fun in the water.”

The portable pool at Daubeney Primary is being funded by the Mayor of London’s “Make a Splash” scheme, The ASA and British Gas, and being delivered by Total Swimming.

Pictured: ASA Chief Executive David Sparkes, the Prime Minister's Olympic and Paralympic Legacy Ambassador Lord Sebastian Coe, Executive Head of the school cluster Janice Thomas and Department of Education Minister Edward Timpson.

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