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Lido Ladies join the Swim England family and the fight to save swimming pools

Lido Ladies Nicola Foster and Jessica Walker have told why they have signed up to Swim England’s fight to save swimming pools.

The pair supported the #OpenOurPools campaign which was launched by the recognised national governing body as lockdown measures began to ease.

They have now joined the Swim England family by purchasing a Supporter, Campaigner or Champion package.

Swim England chief executive Jane Nickerson described the new packages as ‘vital’ to aid the organisation’s work in all areas of aquatic activity.

Although Swim England receives some Government funding, it has to generate cash to support many of its programmes including learn to swim and its lobbying work.

Nicola, who signed up as a Champion, said: “We are passionate about swimming and the physical and mental health benefits of it.

“We are aware there are a number of pools which have not been able to open due to adverse financial circumstances, and many for whom the viability continues to be precarious.

“The Lido Ladies love to swim and we know of people in the swimming community who rely on the pools for a range of reasons from mental health to mobility restrictions to squad training.

Personal impact

“There are, sadly, many people who have not managed to get back into a pool because their local pool remains closed and many children who will not be learning to swim.

“Close to home, the Crystal Palace swimming and diving pools require essential maintenance and remain drained. This impacts us personally during the winter months, but it also impacts all the squads and schools who train and swim there.

“South London-based members of our National Diving Team now have to travel to the London Aquatics Centre at Stratford to dive.  These are amazing young athletes who deserve to have appropriate and accessible training facilities.

“Swim England ran a well organised campaign to open our pools. We now want to support the #FightingForPools campaign.”

The fight for pools is important to the pair as they say they are ‘on a mission’ to encourage everyone to get into the water and swim.

Nicola added: “Unused pools and buildings die fast. We have a limited amount of time to get pools up and running before the costs of doing so increase further, or they are lost forever.

“Swimming is a fabulous exercise and swimmers need pools.

“We are an island nation and everyone in the UK should have the opportunity to learn to swim and to enjoy it, safely, as a life-long activity.”

In the hopes of encouraging more people to join the Swim England family as they have, the Lido Ladies said: “If the nation does not make a noise about the financial predicament of our pools, so many will be lost forever.

“At a time when the nation needs to get fitter, swimming is a fantastic activity for achieving a healthier and happier life.”

To join the Swim England family and purchase a Supporter, Campaigner and Champion package, click here.

Picture credit: Lotta Haegg of BBC Radio London.

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