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Swim England and Disney scoop national award for inspirational family-fun sessions

Swim England and Disney have scooped a national award for their inspirational initiative to encourage families to go swimming and enjoy the water.

Thousands of people have taken part in the Disney-Inspired Family Fun Sessions, which have featured some of Disney’s most recognisable, popular characters including Toy Story stars Woody and Buzz Lightyear, Mickey Mouse and Friends plus the cast of Frozen 2.

Now, the programme has won the Generation Active Award at the 2021 ukactive Awards.

Swim England and Disney were one of eight finalists shortlisted for the honour.

Kate Rudkin, Swim England head of communications and partnership activation, said: “We’re thrilled the Disney-inspired Family Fun Sessions have been recognised with this ukactive award.

“The sessions proved to be extremely popular, with thousands of people of all ages taking part in the sessions.

“We’re very proud to have worked so closely with Disney to create such an inspiring programme which has helped families enjoy the water together.

“We’re in positive discussions with Disney about the future of the programme and are hopeful about it potentially returning in 2022.”

The family-fun sessions were launched in June 2019 at more than 220 pools nationwide as part of a collaboration between Swim England and Disney UK’s Healthy Living Commitment.

They were designed to use the power of Disney’s characters and storytelling to inspire families to lead healthier lifestyles.

It is the second award the Disney-Inspired Family Fun Sessions has won.

Particularly inspiring

In December 2020, Swim England was announced as the winner of the Best Sports Governing Body Initiative at the Sports Business Awards for its collaboration with Disney.

Meanwhile, Swim England’s water wellbeing project was also highly commended in the Healthy Communities Award category at the ukactive awards.

Around 500 viewers tuned in to see Paralympic champion and ukactive Chair, Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson, and Olympic champion, Professor Greg Whyte, announce the winners of 20 categories during an online ceremony

Huw Edwards, CEO of ukactive, said: “We know the ukactive Awards play an important role in celebrating the success of our united movement each year, but this year’s entries were particularly inspiring, considering the challenges faced by every organisation and team in our incredible sector.

“Congratulations to each of the winners and to everyone who took part by reflecting on their achievements and recognising their colleagues – this awards ceremony really showcased the very best our sector has to offer.”

Jenny Patrickson, Managing Director at Active IQ, said: “I would like to congratulate all the winners and runners-up in this year’s ukactive Awards. 

“As headline sponsor and first round judges, it has been an absolute privilege for us to see the wealth of inspirational, encouraging and creative work within our industry, especially in response to the pandemic and lockdowns.”

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