Swim England

A nation swimming

Water Wellbeing to expand through local and national leisure operators

Swim England’s Water Wellbeing accreditation scheme has been hailed as an opportunity for public pool operators to take a consistent approach around health and wellbeing, by one the largest pool operators in England.

Leisure operators from across the nation recently gathered together at a virtual event delivered by Swim England’s health and wellbeing team, in partnership with Good Boost, providing educational content on swimming after surgery, discussions around the new England Swims insight, products, programmes and offers around health and wellbeing.

Discussions included how partnerships with the likes of the We Are Undefeatable campaign could help to reach more communities up and down the country.

During the event, Swim England’s head of learn to swim, Katie Towner, spoke to Rebecca Phillips, the strategic lead for health and wellbeing at Everyone Active, about the Leisure Management companies’ ambitions for health and wellbeing and where aquatics fits within the overall approach of the organisation, with all of the pools within their portfolio.

Improving quality of life in communities

Rebecca said: “Everyone Active have launched a strategy to improve the quality of life for residents in our communities by embedding physical activity into everyday life.

“So the strategy has six key themes. One of the key themes is to support people to increase healthy life expectancy. We know people are living longer and so it’s important they are living well for longer.

“Even if people have a long-term health condition or a disability, we want to try and help them to live well, exercise and enjoy quality of life.

“Our communities are ever-changing, we need to understand what their challenges are and how we can support them as a pool operator to create options that people can be signposted into.

“Through the Water Wellbeing accreditation, we also hope health and social care professionals will see that we’re a trusted provider, so they feel confident in referring people into our pools.”

Strength in numbers

Listening in on the updates and conversation at the event were pool operators from across the country, who have either completed or are working towards Water Wellbeing accreditation.

To date, there are 19 accredited sites, with 155 more working towards accreditation and likely to achieve this standard in 2023.

Current Water Wellbeing accredited sites:

  • Bitterne Leisure Centre, Southampton (Active Nation)
  • The Quays Swimming & Diving Complex, Southampton (Active Nation)
  • Bath Sports & Leisure Centre, Bath (GLL)
  • Energise, York (GLL)
  • Ramsgate Leisure Centre, Ramsgate (Your Leisure)
  • The Spa at Beckenham, Beckenham (MyTime Active)
  • Biggin Hill Memorial Library and Pool, Biggin Hill (MyTime Active)
  • Jubilee 2, Newcastle-under-Lyme (Newcastle-under-Lyme Council)
  • Tudor Grange Leisure Centre, Solihull (Everyone Active)
  • Winchester Sport & Leisure Park, Winchester (Everyone Active)
  • Moorways Sports Village and Water Park, Derby (Everyone Active)
  • LED Sidmouth Swimming Pool, Sidmouth (LED Community Leisure)
  • Jack Laugher Leisure and Wellness Centre, Ripon (Brimhams Active)
  • Nidderdale Pool & Leisure Centre, Harrogate (Brimhams Active)
  • Starbeck Baths, Harrogate (Brimhams Active)
  • Knaresborough Pool, Knaresborough (Brimhams Active)
  • Great Sankey Neighbourhood Hub, Warrington (Warrington LiveWire)
  • Bewsey & Dallam Community Hub, Warrington (Warrington LiveWire)
  • Mill House Leisure Centre (Hartlepool Borough Council)

Rebecca also explained how Everyone Active’s aim is to have all of their pools reach the accreditation standard in 2023.

Many of their sites are already well on the way to achieving that, working closely with Swim England on this.

Providing accessible and inclusive facilities for all

Rebecca went on to explain: “We’re hoping that we can create more of a person-centred approach by offering a more tailored aquatic offering.

“For example, we are thinking more about the environment and how that will look and feel when somebody comes in to a facility, which in some cases could simply mean having quiet adult swim times that could be available for someone living with dementia, with Parkinson’s, sensory conditions, or for anyone who just wants to be able to have a quieter swim.

“We’ve also been working with the aquatic rehabilitation application Good Boost, which is a really fantastic offering and means we can work with more closely with health and social care practitioners, such as physiotherapists and others, to help reduce waiting lists for treatment and support people living with musculoskeletal conditions or other long-term health conditions.

“We really want to do as much as we can to try and reduce or remove the barriers that people experience, so that many more can experience the benefits to be had from participating in aquatic activity,” she said.

Find your local Water Wellbeing accredited pool

Also announced at the event was some additional functionality for Swim England’s PoolFinder. Users can now search for local pools that are Water Wellbeing accredited, or might have specific accessibility support in place.

Health and wellbeing sessions offered by pools can also now be searched for, with health sessions, dementia friendly sessions and aquatic physiotherapy support in hydrotherapy pools also now easily found through PoolFinder.

Andrew Power, water wellbeing specialist at Swim England, commented after the event: “It’s great to see so many leisure operators committed to becoming more accessible, inclusive and welcoming through the Water Wellbeing programme, which will have a significant impact on health and wellbeing across communities in years to come.

“Also now with PoolFinder in place, it is not only becoming easier to access, but to find the right facility and offers too.”

For more information on Water Wellbeing or other aspects of Swim England’s health and wellbeing work, get in touch at health@swimming.org.

Main image: Everyone Active