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The latest Taking Part figures report an increase in swimming participation

28 March 2013

Taking Part is a survey conducted by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) in conjunction with Arts Council England, English Heritage and Sport England.

The survey collects data on participation in leisure and sport and measures changing trends in activity, as well as investigating barriers to participation. The latest Taking Part figures cover January to December 2012 and boast some of the highest participation figures in sport since the survey began eight years ago.

16% of adults reported that winning the Olympic bid in 2005 motivated them to do more sport and since 2010 there has been an increase of 1.2 million adults doing at least 30 minutes of sport per week, 49.9% of men and 39.8% of women surveyed said they participated in sport.

The Taking Part survey reported an increase in participation and activity in swimming. 83.7% of adults stated that they can swim, an increase of 2.5% compared with 2010, and there was a 2% decrease in the amount of people scared of water.

A higher proportion of men (87.2%) said that they can swim compared to women (80.5%). This is a significant increase from 2010 when 77.2% of women said they could swim. The proportion of people with a disability or long term illness that reported they can swim rose dramatically from 70% in 2010 to 73.2%.

Regionally, there was a significant increase in the proportion of people in the South East and North West able to swim, withincreases of 4.5% and 4.7% respectively compared to 2010. The survey indicated that swimming proficiency has declined in North East by 3.8% from 2010.

Swimming proficiency was also linked to age, with the percentage of adults able to swim decreasing with age.  45-64 years olds had the most significant increase with 86.1% of adults in this category able to swim compared to 81.4% in 2010.

8% of respondents reported that they were motivated to do more voluntary work following the winning of the Olympic bid. A quarter of adults (25.5%) reported that they had taken part in voluntary activities in the last 12 months, the figure was 23.8% in 2005. The amount of adults aged 16-24 volunteering rose from 25% to 34% and women volunteering increased from 25% to 28% compared with 2005.

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