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Black Swimming Association launch new strategic plan on first anniversary

Swim England has welcomed a pioneering research project being carried out by the Black Swimming Association (BSA) aimed at tackling inequalities and barriers that preclude African, Caribbean and Asian communities from participating in aquatics.

On the first anniversary since the BSA was officially launched, co-founders Danielle Obe, Ed Accura, Seren Jones and Alice Dearing have hosted a virtual event to outline its plan, which will be the first of its kind in the country.

The research is part of the BSA’s three-year strategic plan and core mission to ensure people from African, Caribbean and Asian communities have an accessible, inclusive and safe experience in and around water.

Swim England has worked in partnership with the BSA since its launch last year, offering organisational support as the team developed its strategic plan and goals.

The BSA intends to take a collaborative approach with the project and aims to engage with key stakeholders and organisations who are truly passionate about its vision of working towards a future with ethnic diversity in aquatics.

Danielle, the BSA’s chief executive, said: “Our goal is to serve people from underrepresented communities of African, Caribbean and Asian heritage with excellence and consistency; and our partnerships are intended to provide the right platform and create access to build bridges into these communities upon which the wider sector can drive through required change.”

The BSA says the research project will focus on identifying, understanding and removing barriers that have led to a significant proportion of people from ethnically diverse communities, particularly those from lower socio-economic backgrounds, disengaging with the country’s aquatics sector.

Bridging the gap

Last year, Sport England’s Active Lives Survey revealed 95 per cent of Black adults and 80 per cent of Black children in England do not swim, whilst 93% of Asian adults and 78 per cent of Asian children follow the same pattern.

Consequently, not only is the BSA committed to bridging the gap between the aquatic sector and those who are disengaged in these communities – for whom the risk of drowning is higher – but the organisation is also pushing to highlight its agenda through mandatory education and water-safety measures.

Mike Hawkes, Swim England Inclusion and Health and Safety Partner, said: “It’s been great to see how the BSA has developed in its first year and we’re delighted to have supported them in the past 12 months.

“Swimming and aquatic activity is for everyone and by developing a stronger partnership in the future with the BSA, we can achieve both of our objectives – a nation swimming and ethnic diversity in aquatics.

“This detailed research project and the excellent strategy launched by the BSA will be key tools to tackle the inequalities highlighted. We look forward to seeing the results and how we as the recognised national governing body, can further help them.”