Swim England

A nation swimming

Ripple effect project has helped volunteer Connor find work experience

To mark National Volunteers week, we have spoken to some of our volunteers about their journey and route into aquatics. Here, Connor Gilmore shares his experience of being one of the first volunteers of Swim England’s Ripple Effect project.

Connor Gilmore has said that Swim England’s Ripple Effect project has helped him gain the work experience that he’s been struggling to find.

The project aims to break down barriers for disabled individuals who want to become volunteers and encourages them to get involved in aquatics.

It’s now in its second phase with Connor being one of a cohort of disabled volunteers that are progressing through Swim England’s volunteering pathway.

After working with a number of National Disability Sporting Organisations, Connor was found for the project by Special Olympics GB and has been working with Swim England to find volunteering roles that best suit him.

He’s recently completed one of Swim England’s Swimming Lesson Helper courses, Connor is excited to get the work experience he’s been searching for.

“I wanted to join the project because I want to work and there’s not many opportunities for me to get experience.” He said.

“I’ve struggled to find chances to work and being a part of this has helped me because now know I can do it.

“The courses were fun and even though I found the first one hard the second one has been brilliant.”

“Go for it because you can do it!”

Connor has learning difficulties and after struggling with a timekeeping course he was supported by the project to find a different way he could help out.

It’s part of the projects test and learn approach where it can identify and overcome the barriers preventing disabled people getting involved in volunteering.

It allowed the project to find a course that better supports Connor and now that he’s completed it, Connor’s looking forward to getting on poolside and supporting his local club.

“I’ve been swimming for a long time but this is the first time I’ve volunteered.

“And I know swimmers wouldn’t be able to keep on swimming without people volunteering.

“All the staff have been really helpful in supporting me and I’m really looking forward to getting started.”

Connor’s hopeful that more disabled people get involved in aquatics and that he wants to become an assistant coach in the future.

“I would say to anyone to go for it because you can do it!

“I’ve really enjoyed and I now would like to become an assistant coach and help out on poolside.”

You can find out more about Swim England’s Ripple Effect project here.