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Corby Steel Diving Club created 'a sense of belonging' for all during lockdowns

As part of the Swim England #YourMembershipCounts campaign, we have been finding out how our clubs and members have stayed engaged with their sport, coped with the challenges of 2020, and their hopes for the future.

It is difficult to stay connected when we are apart but Corby Steel Diving Club made sure members stayed in touch with one another to ensure they retained ‘a sense of belonging to a diving community’.

The club remained extremely active throughout the national lockdowns which helped them strengthen friendships and keep members.

Club secretary, Sue Beasley, explained the different activities the club set up for its members so it could ‘continue to be a key part in their lives’.

“For a while now our club has had a parents WhatsApp group,” she said. “We decided to use this along with options in our Club Organiser membership software and all of our social media platforms to engage parents and divers.

“Our head coach recommended exercise videos to keep the divers active.

“These links were shared with parents and divers and everyone was encouraged to log their exercise or share videos of themselves trying one of our diving challenges.

“Encouragement and feedback were given by our coaches and other parents and divers.

Team spirit

“Our coaches each made short videos to post to the group encouraging everyone to stay active and safe. We also produced a ‘toilet roll video’ for fun which was posted to social media and was great fun to watch.

This was an important morale booster and reached thousands of people in our local community.”

Sue explains how the club set up an initiative called the ‘Friends of Corby Steel Diving Club’.

“Parents of children in diving lessons were contacted and invited to become a Friend of CSDC,” she said. “Their own WhatsApp group was set up and they were given access to Club Organiser in the same way as the club.

“This was a great way to involve all divers and give them a sense of belonging to a diving community.”

Sue stressed that because the club was so active on social media and the lines of communication were kept open throughout the lockdown, team spirit and morale remained high.

She added: “The regular connection with the club via photos, videos flashbacks to past competitions and encouraging messages enabled everyone to stay connected with their friends and colleagues.

“Coaches who had not previously been part of the parent’s group joined, and this added to our aim of inclusion.

“The WhatsApp group set up by Swim England for Diving Development Centre’s was also a great lifeline. With a direct link to Swim England, our club was able to confidently answer parent’s questions knowing we had the support of our governing body.”

Sue said that the club expected to lose members throughout the duration of the lockdown – but this wasn’t the case.

New equipment

“Keeping the divers in touch with one another and giving them a forum to share their feelings about the time apart has strengthened their friendships and helped the club retain members,” said Sue.

“The club has also increased the number of volunteers from parents in both club and lessons, who are now keen to be involved with the club and help the committee.

“We have a strong and dedicated team of coaches, volunteers, and parents. Our divers are devoted to the sport of diving and we are all committed to keeping the club active and prosperous.”

In September, the club installed new dry-land training equipment which included a storage container, dry board, mats and wall-bars.

They raised funds through a number of avenues including lottery funding and club fundraising events such as cake sales, bag packing, and sponsored swims.

They also benefitted from grants and funding from the Swim England Diving Development Centre.

Sue added: “We had a huge amount of support from club volunteers, parents, Corby East Midlands Pool, Corby Council, and Swim England which enabled us to succeed with this project.”

In total, £18,000 was raised by the club.