Swim England

A nation swimming

New Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan will help make aquatics accessible to all

Swim England’s affiliated clubs are set to play a vital part in helping to ensure that people from diverse communities see aquatics as a welcoming and inclusive space.

A key objective in the national governing body’s recently-published 10-year strategy, Access Aquatics, is to see the proportion of under-represented groups in both participation and the workforce rise.

From November, all of Swim England’s 946 clubs will have to submit a Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan as part of their requirements to remain affiliated.

The plan aims to help clubs understand how to remove the barriers to participation and make aquatic sports and activities ‘accessible, inclusive and safe for everyone’.

Relevant club officers will also be required to take a free ‘Foundations of Inclusivity’ CPD, which gives an introduction to equality, diversity and inclusion.

It gives advice on how to approach this, the use of appropriate language and the importance of adaption.

The Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan will also include supporting resources for clubs to utilise.

Mike Hawkes, Swim England’s head of diversity and inclusion, said: “We are committed to tackling the inequalities which currently prevent diverse communities taking part in aquatic activity – but we can’t do it on our own.

“Clubs can play a vital role in helping bring about this important change which will have added benefits for them, too.

Key tools

“By recognising how to break down the barriers to participation, clubs can create a more accessible environment to enable people from under-represented groups to participate in the sports and activities they provide or even taking on volunteering roles.

“The Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan and free Foundations of Inclusivity CPD will be key tools for clubs to help us achieve our mission of improving the health and success of the nation by enabling access to aquatics for all.”

Currently, clubs have to complete five elements to achieve Club Affiliation.

This means that a club is operating in a safe and compliant way and has achieved the minimum standard of safe and effective practice.

However, from 1 November 2023, it will be mandatory for all clubs to complete the Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan and Foundations of Inclusivity CPD as part of the affiliation process.

The new Diversity and Inclusion requirements will also replace the existing equality evidence that is currently part of SwimMark.

The Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan will be available on the SwimMark portal from 1 August 2023 to enable clubs to start planning ahead.

Swim England stage a series of information workshops to support clubs in completing SwimMark and Club Affiliation – and these will include details of the Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan update.

Places can be booked on the workshops by clicking here.

Anyone with questions should email clubdevelopment@swimming.org.