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Funding available to help schools unearth next generation of water polo players

Secondary schools are being encouraged to help unearth the next generation of water polo players by applying for funding to create ten new teams across the country.

Independent charity The Swimming Trust, in partnership with Swim England, is offering £500 to ten different state schools in a bid to introduce pupils to the sport.

The funding can be used to purchase balls, hats, goals or pay for the hire of swimming pools, for example.

The initiative is part of the Swim England Water Polo strategic goal of doubling the number of registered players in the sport in the next five years.

Applications will be judged on schools’ ability to best use the funding to encourage more young people to take up water polo.

Schools interested in applying should not currently have a water polo team but have access to pool time and a teacher/coach who is confident of delivering the sessions.

Toby King, chair of the Swim England Water Polo Leadership Group, welcomed the financial backing from The Swimming Trust.

He said: “I’m thrilled that The Swimming Trust is offering these grants to help us achieve our goal of increasing the number and diversity of players in our wonderful sport.

“Water polo is included in the GCSE and A-Level PE syllabus, so now could be the perfect time for your school to look at introducing water polo to a new group of young people.

“Swim England can provide advice and support on setting up a team, as well as ideas of other schools or club teams to play against in your local area – as well as club contact details if pupils wish to play the sport further.

Influx of new players

“Following Swim England’s recent clarification of their rules, school water polo teams of players aged seven and above are now allowed to play against club teams without requiring every school player to have Swim England membership.”

Brian DeVal, the secretary of The Swimming Trust, said: “We’re delighted to be supporting the Swim England Water Polo Strategy 2020-25 by providing this funding to help bring new players to water polo.

“It’s a magnificent sport and we hope it will lead to an influx of new players joining clubs and taking part in the game long-term.”

Applications forms need to be completed and submitted to [email protected] by Monday 31 May.

The successful schools will be notified by the beginning of July 2021.

Each successful school will be given 12 months to utilise the funding and will be required to demonstrate how the money has been spent and the impact of the project.