Swimming ‘uniquely placed’ to help achieve levelling up missions6 February 2022
Swimming is ‘uniquely placed’ to help the Government achieve its national levelling up missions – but will only succeed with urgent investment in facilities up and down the country.
That’s the view of Swim England chief executive Jane Nickerson following the publication of the Levelling Up White Paper.
Included in the 12 missions unveiled by the Government were:
- Narrow the gap of healthy life expectancy between the areas where it is lowest and highest
- Improve wellbeing in every area of the UK
- Increase ‘pride of place’, such as people’s satisfaction with their town centre and engagement in local culture and community
Jane said: “The Government is absolutely right to focus on tackling inequalities we currently see by 2030 and this is an ambition we share.
“Swimming is ideally and uniquely placed to support a number of these missions.
Matter of urgency
“The properties of the water mean it can be an ideal location for people to become more active and fitter, particularly for those who may struggle to be active on land due to a range of health conditions.
“Swimming has also been proven to hugely contribute to peoples’ mental wellbeing. Swim England’s Value of Swimming report showed that 1.4 million adults feel swimming has significantly reduced their anxiety or depression.
“However, it is hard to reconcile the Government’s stated intentions with the backdrop of the looming shortage of facilities.
“By 2030, we are forecasting a 40 per cent reduction in the number of available pools – a loss of some 2,000 pools.
“Already we are seeing the areas that are the shortest on water space have lower participation levels and lower swimming attainment levels for their children.
“If swimming and water-based activity is to play the huge role it can – and should – in levelling up health outcomes across the country, then we need to see the Government invest in the pools we need as a matter of urgency.”