Swim England

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Health and Wellbeing

Our Health and Wellbeing benefits of swimming report (2017) highlights the unique benefits of water that make it the ideal place for people of all ages and level of ability to exercise and is particularly beneficial for those with long term health conditions.

Taking this report into account, our insight on swimming participation and learning from our Dementia Friendly Swimming project, we have developed the ‘Water Wellbeing’ model which includes all of the essential components, to be able to offer the best possible experience for people who are inactive and/or have long term health conditions, to become physically active in water.

Become an accredited Water Wellbeing provider

We have established the Water Wellbeing accreditation process for organisations to follow, demonstrating high standards and quality of support both to health partners and members of the public. An overview of the process, including the three stage process to becoming and maintaining your status as a Water Wellbeing provider is outlined in the drop down menu’s below.

The Water Wellbeing accreditation process
  • We have created an information document about the Water Wellbeing Programme, introducing how you can gain accreditation.
  • Download our accreditation checklist to help you to identify the steps you could take towards accreditation.
  • Once you have decided on your desired focus, read and sign our accreditation guidance and accreditation sign-up form and send this to [email protected], one of our team will get in touch to further discuss the process with you.
  • The process will involve uploading evidence gathered by you as part of this self-assessment process to be checked by the Swim England team member working with you on the accreditation process.
Stage 1: Accessible and Inclusive

The first step in preparing to support people who are inactive and have long term health conditions, is to ensure that the environment your operate from is both accessible and welcoming. This is not just about the physical environment but also about staff awareness and attitudes. It is also important to promote these aspects well to help break down barriers for those who otherwise might not consider what you have to offer.

  • Using the accreditation checklist to identify the direction you wish your offer to take, you should complete the action plan template, outlining each step and including key milestones and targets for each part of the process.
  • Our Environmental Assessment tool provides pool operators with a step by step process to be able to identify what and where barriers might exist, so you can evaluate how these can be removed.
  • On completion of the Environmental Assessment tool, you can use the Environmental Assessment Report and Improvement Plan to outline the steps you will take to address barriers and improve access.
  • We have worked with Activity Alliance to develop Inclusive Customer Experience e-learning to improve understanding and allow staff to empathise with people with long term health conditions and impairments. Those signed up to the accreditation process can access this training at a discounted rate. It may also be possible to provide live training online or in-person, please speak to your health contact for more details.
  • For most people with a long term health condition or impairment, swimming and aquatic activity is excellent for health. But there are some things that might need advance consideration to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience. The guide: ‘Things to consider before swimming with a health condition’ has been developed for professionals with this in mind. We have also produced a similar handout for members of the public and a series of three posters which can be displayed as prompts in any pool facility, links to both are provided in the guide.
  • Other resources to support this stage will be made available to those who have registered for accreditation.
Stage 2: Personalised Delivery

Once the environment is accessible and inclusive, you can start to put in place tailored aquatic opportunities. In most cases this might require specific training, equipment or other resources. We have outlined three potential pathways of support below. To become accredited you should provide at least one of these options for at least two hours per week as a starting point to build upon.

  • Exercise Referral/Self-Referral sessions
    • It is important that staff developing and delivering aquatic exercise sessions for people with long term health conditions are qualified to do so. The Level 3 Aquatic Activity for Health qualification is the gold standard qualification for this purpose.
    • Other resources to support this option will be made available to those who have registered for accreditation.
  • Swim England Learn to Swim Programme
  • Good Boost app
    • The Good Boost app creates personalised aquatic and land based exercise sessions for groups and individuals, reducing pain and improving mobility. Watch the video and access the Good Boost flyer for more information.
    • Other resources to support this option will be made available to those who have registered for accreditation and taken out a license with Good Boost directly (e.g. equipment and training).
Stage 3: Demonstrating Impact

With an accessible, inclusive environment and with personalised delivery in place, in order to build confidence at a senior leadership level, with healthcare professionals and commissioners of clinical and public health services, it is crucial that you demonstrate its impact. This will improve the sustainability of your accredited programme. The following steps will be used to cement your accreditation for the next two years:

Other Useful Resources

Health Fact Sheets

Example of a Swim England Health PDF Fact SheetFollowing publication of the Health and Wellbeing Benefits of Swimming report, Swim England’s Health Commission group have agreed to work collaboratively to develop a range of fact sheets on swimming with particular health conditions, written for competitive swimmers, the general public and to also assist those who support or advise swimmers.

The number of fact sheets is expected to grow in the coming months, with all content provided by technical experts who specialise in swimming and health conditions, based on the best available evidence.

Listed below is the current fact sheet library for people assisting or supporting swimmers, grouped by conditions covered. To view and download all fact sheets, including versions written specifically for individual and competitive swimmers, head to our digital library.

Fact Sheets