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Legacy project assessments help get more people active and confident in water

A series of free swimming assessments as part of the London Legacy Project have led to an uptake in lesson bookings and families returning to the pool.

The assessments were one of a number of inclusion initiatives held to get people from Haringey more active and confident in the water.

A total of 26 people from four community groups – Samafal, Engine Room, HR Sports Academy and Phoenix Community Care – took advantage of the assessments, which were run by local club Haringey Aquatics.

The assessments were designed to help individuals understand their swimming ability and how to improve their confidence and competence in the water.

They have also been used as a platform to signpost people to other project initiatives such as free water polo and diving taster sessions, and learn to swim programmes.

As well as a rise in the number of lesson bookings, there has been an increase in women joining female-only club sessions and families returning to the pool.

One Tottenham family have been regularly swimming together following their assessment.

They said: “It’s been lovely being part of this project.

“My family and I enjoyed our individual swimming assessments with Mark. He gave us lots of helpful pointers to improve our technique which were really useful.

“Lesley from Haringey Aquatics has also been brilliant in arranging follow-up lessons.

“Since our assessment, we’ve been swimming several times as a family. I’ve even ventured into the deep end.

“Thank you for the gentle nudge and encouragement to get us all back into swimming.”

Lesley Walker, from Haringey Aquatics, said: “The project has been a fantastic opportunity for the club to get to know more people locally and to offer support where we can.

Unmet demand for lessons

“It’s certainly reinforced the massive unmet demand for swimming lessons, including for women-only, and the very large numbers of people of all ages who missed out on learning to swim.

“The good news is that many people want to train up as swimming teachers to help increase access to swimming for everyone in Haringey.”

Keon Richardson, from the HR Sports Academy, said: “Considering these opportunities are quite limited in Haringey, it’s great to have a wide range of swimming provision for both children and adults.”

A number of swimming teachers will also be trained in the autumn as part of the London Legacy Project.

The project will fund eight women to attend the Fusion Lifestyle-run combined swim teaching courses.

The hope is this new cohort of swimming teachers will facilitate more swimming lessons and female-only activities in the area afterwards.

Stephanie Gadd, Swim England programme officer – growth, said: “It is great to see people from the local community groups we are working with, enjoying local swimming opportunities that we have funded as part of the project.

“I am delighted that we have been able to invest funding into training a new cohort of swimming teachers.

“This will really help address the latent demand in the area for swimming lessons, not only for children but adults too.

“Learning to swim is not only a life skill but it is the starting point of a person’s journey into swimming and aquatics, whether they chose to swim recreationally or with a club.”

The London Legacy Project secured £20,000 from the Mayor of London’s Sport Unites Fund to support the roll out of three engagement initiatives in some of the capital’s most deprived boroughs.

It aims to break down barriers such as social isolation, inactivity and mental health, and generate excitement in aquatic sports ahead of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.

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