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Legacy project aims to make aquatic sports more accessible to hundreds of people

An exciting new programme which aims to build on the success of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games and make aquatic sports more accessible to hundreds of people is to be launched in London next year.

The London Legacy Project has 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 most deprived boroughs in London.

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.

In February half-term, free top-up swimming lessons will be offered to 72 youngsters from five primary schools in Southwark, Dagenham and Redbridge and Enfield. 

The sessions will help the schools meet the National Curriculum targets for swimming and ensure all children involved become more confident, competent swimmers.

Project two will see Swim England offer free taster sessions for water polo, diving and artistic swimming offered to a range of community groups in and around Haringey, plus a series of introductory Learn to Swim sessions to support families and asylum seekers learn to swim. 

This part of the legacy programme aims to give participants the skills and confidence to engage in swimming activities in the future, either on their own or with their family.

Project three aims to work with local diving clubs in London to develop new talent feeder programmes. 

Community engagement

The first strand will involve doing some targeted club development work in South West London to support the creation of a new GLL Tom Daley Diving Academy. 

Bursaries will be offered to upskill and train a new cohort of diving coaches in the area. Project three will also involve the rollout of a talent testing programme for diving in 10 schools to encourage more youngsters to take up the sport.

Stephanie Gadd, Swim England’s Programmes Officer for Growth, said: “I am thrilled to be working on such an exciting legacy project.

“The project will involve a lot of community engagement work with new partners, such as schools and local community groups in some of the most deprived areas of London.

“By doing this we hope to make our sports more accessible and generate some excitement around aquatic sports in the lead up to the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.”

Bevis Allen, senior programme delivery manager, Community Sport for Greater London Authority, said: “This is a community engagement, multi-aquatic legacy programme, which harnesses interest generated from the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic games and builds momentum towards the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.

“The programme, which is funded by the Mayor of London, and delivered in partnership with Swim England, is aimed at breaking down barriers such as social isolation, inactivity and mental health in London.

“This exciting new programme is made up of three projects which will be delivered in Barking and Dagenham, Enfield, Haringey, Merton, Southwark and Waltham Forest.”

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